N.C. State's Three-Dimensional Weaving Used In Variety Of Products
Posted March 19, 2000 6:00 a.m. EST
CARY — A technology created atN.C. Statehas found a new home in Cary with lots of applications.
3TEXwas started atN.C. State's College of Textiles.NASAfunded the research into weaving fibers then impregnating them with polymers to produce super-strong composite structures.
3TEX products come in all shapes and are stronger and lighter than steel.
"What we intend to do is take this lighter, stronger technology and create auto parts, school bus components and make a variety of medical products all out of this same technology platform," says Brad Lienhart, 3TEX President of Medical and Sports Medicine.
Fibers are hand-woven in three dimensions in globular shapes. Soon, the process will be done by machine.
Composite materials are then incorporated with a plastic matrix to make a fiber-reinforced material.
The 3TEX process can be used for a number of products from lightweight I-beams for heavy construction to lightweight shin guards for soccer players.
The process is also being used to make navy flak jackets, police bulletproof vests and a new lightweight helmet for the military.
Body-absorbing materials may also be woven, allowing tissue engineering and surgical repair.
"Our materials can make scaffolds that we can grow cells and incorporate growth factors into making repair organs and tissues," says Dr. Jeffrey Leung, 3TEX Director of Medical Products.
N.C. State has an ownership stake in 3TEX, which plans to go public when the time is right.
3TEX was founded two years ago by Dr. Mansour Mohamed. He continues to teach at N.C. State, but regularly works with 3TEX in development of new systems and processes.
New 3TEX plants are opening soon in Rutherford County, North Carolina and in Maine.