AATCC Interest Groups Focus on Sustainability

AATCC has three Founding Interest Groups: Chemical Applications; Materials; and Concept 2 Consumer (C2C).

See Interest Groups agendas here

On Tuesday afternoon, May 20, each of the three interest groups will have presentations on the topic of Sustainability:

1-2:25pm AATCC Chemical Applications Interest Group

Speaker: Renee Lamb, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Fashion Design & Merchandising, Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts

 Topic: What is Sustainability?

 Bio: Renee Lamb is an Assistant Professor at VCU’s School of the Arts’ Department of Fashion Design and Merchandising and Founder of Soulié, a luxury artisanal accessories brand and social enterprise focusing on the preservation of culturally sensitive craft traditions and artisan empowerment. She holds a Post-Graduate Certificate in Fashion Design from Parsons, an MA in International Economics & Development from Johns Hopkins University, SAIS and is a proud graduate of NC State’s College of Textiles with a specialization in Textile and Apparel Management. She has worked within the sustainability field for over 15 years and is passionate about the power of conscious consumerism and corporate citizenship to create lasting change.


Speaker: Marielis Zambrano, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Forest Biomaterials, North Carolina State University

Title:  Fate of textile microfibers released during home laundering in aquatic environments: the effect of fabric type, washing conditions, and finishes

AATCC Spring 2020 Committee Meeting

 Marielis Zambrano, Forest Biomaterials Department, North Carolina State University

Dr. Richard Venditti, Forest Biomaterials Department, North Carolina State University

Dr. Joel Pawlak, Forest Biomaterials Department, North Carolina State University

Dr. Jay Cheng, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, North Carolina State University

Dr. Jesse Daystar, Cotton Incorporated

Dr. Carlos Goller, Department of Biological Sciences, North Carolina State University

MSc. Mary Ankeny, Cotton Incorporated

 Microplastics are small plastic particles with size below 5 mm. They are generated from the fragmentation and wear of plastic objects, paints, textiles, tires, etc., They have been observed in freshwater and marine environments all over the world. They have been found in seafood, beer, tap water, sea salt, and human stools. They can adsorb pathogens and pollutants on their surface, and they might affect the growth and development of aquatic fauna.

Only in US and Canada, 878 tons or 3.5 quadrillion microfibers per year make it to environment via wastewater treatment plants, equivalent to 89 million plastic bottles; and microparticles from home laundering is thought to be the main route. For that reason, to address today’s concerns about microplastics pollution, the understanding of the fate of microfibers generated during home laundering in aquatic environments is critical.

In our research we have studied the number and mass of microfibers released from polyester, cotton, and rayon fabrics in both actual home laundering equipment and also with a LaunderOmeter, an accelerated laundering laboratory device. Additionally, biodegradation of these materials was evaluated in simulated aquatic environments, a local wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), lake, and ocean water, and analysis on the microbial communities before and after the experiments were made.

In general, all fabric types released microparticles. It is estimated that 700,000 particles are released per wash load. Cellulose based fabrics release more microfibers than did the polyester textile. Fabrics less resistance to abrasion like cotton are more susceptible to microfiber release and a strong correlation was found. However, the cellulosic fibers were found to readily biodegrade, whereas the polyester fibers remained essentially unchanged during the biodegradation experiments. Cellulosic fabrics with finishes also degraded but at a slower pace relative to the untreated cellulose fabric. The cellulosic fibers were highly assimilated by the bacteria in the environment, whereas the polyester microfibers are expected to persist for very long times. Cellulosic materials promoted a microbiome with enriched micro-organisms that can process cellulose whereas the polyester fibers behaved inertly with respect to the microbiome.

 2:30-3:55pm   AATCC Concept2Consumer Interest Group

 Speaker:  Dr. Min Zhu, Technical Director, SGS North America Inc.

 Title – “Recycled Content Products – From Manufacturing to Marketing”.

The content is outlined as below:

•             Market trend of using more recycled materials in products for sustainability

•             Recycled materials – Pre-consumer and post-consumer recycled content

•             Recycling methods – Physical vs. chemical

•             Recycled materials assessment

o            GRS (Global Recycled Standard)

o            RCC (Recycled Content Certification)

o            SGS Recycled Assessment Program

•             Marketing and Labeling of product containing recycled content

o            Used as fabrics

o            Used as filling materials

 Time frame – 60 minutes.

 Dr. Min Zhu, Technical Director for Softlines at SGS North America, leads the America’s Softlines technical team to develop testing programs and provide technical services to US and Canada clients. She also coordinates with SGS Softlines global teams to implement softlines policies, regulations and technical initiatives in the US and Canada. Prior to SGS, she was an assistant professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, and served in BASF, Cotton Incorporated and TAL Apparel Ltd. respectively. Dr. Zhu holds a Ph.D. in textile chemistry from Donghua University in Shanghai and an MBA degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

4:00-5:25pm   Materials Interest Group (see meeting agenda here)

Speaker: Margaret A. Auerbach, CIV USARMY CCDC SC (USA)

Title:  Flame Resistant Materials and Soldier Sustainability

 Abstract:  In most cases, the adoption of inherently flame resistant materials or materials treated with flame retardant chemicals by the military have been focused on the protection and survivability of the warfighter – to prevent burn injury and/or provide additional time to escape from a flame/fire threat. While chemicals recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as human carcinogens are never allowed for use in military items, testing and evaluation of FR materials used in clothing applications traditionally has not focused on the off-gassing or toxic fumes a warfighter may inhale during a flame/fire/high heat thermal event. Current research efforts for both military clothing and shelter fabrics focus on the use of non- halogenated environmentally friendly flame retardant compounds.  The increasing use of chemicals in the production and treatment of materials along with rising health issues has highlighted the need for further investigation into health and environmental issues associated with both inherently FR and FR treated materials.

Margaret Auerbach is a Textile Technologist at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Command Soldier Center – Natick, MA. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Clothing and Textiles from Framingham State University, and is a graduate of the NASA Endeavor STEM Teaching Certificate Program and NC State Textile Technology Certificate Program.  She is an active member in both ASTM and ISO.

Ms. Auerbach has worked as a civilian researcher for the U.S. Army for 35 years developing new fibers and fabrics, evaluating new technologies, characterizing material properties (using both standard test methods as well as customized test methods), and conducting analyses of materials in relation to parachute failures, chemical and ballistic protection etc. on both a scanning electron microscope (SEM), and elemental scanning electron microscope (ESEM) equipped with an energy dispersive x ray analysis system (EDS).  She has worked on the development of insulation materials (Primaloft) and the analysis of insulation materials – guarded hot plate testing (clo and moisture permeability testing) for cold weather clothing applications. She has conducted and developed tests to evaluate the flame resistant properties of materials and full scale clothing and equipment systems.  She worked on the development of the first anthropometrically correct female manikin for flame testing in the U.S. utilizing the Army’s anthropometric data base.  She is currently working on developing an anthropometrically correct hand and head test form and test method which includes the development of skin models for use in predicting burn injury, utilizing ultrasound scanning techniques, image processing, computer modeling and additive manufacturing techniques (3D printing).

Speaker: JoAnn Ratto Ross, Natick

Topic: Sustainability in Packaging

Abstract:  Environmental packaging is a way to address the vast global solid waste problems. Current and past research and development activities will be addressed on environmental friendly materials for primary, secondary and tertiary packaging.  Additives such as soy along with biodegradable and/or biobased polymers will be highlighted.

 Bio: Dr. Jo Ann Ratto Ross is a Senior Materials Engineer at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Command – Soldier Center Natick, MA. USA. Her current new role is the Deputy Director of the Harnessing Emerging Research Opportunities to Empower Soldiers (HEROES) program with the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

 Jo Ann has worked for the Army for the last 30 years executing research projects for the Army. For the last 12 years, her career has focused on Meal, Ready-to-Eat packaging research. She has been the Principal Investigator for several basic and applied environmental research projects focused on decreasing the solid waste for military food packaging.  Her experience spans a variety of fields involving nanocomposites, biodegradable polymers, high barrier polymers, extrusion processing, multilayer films, and film characterization.

 JoAnn has served as the Director for The Centre for Advanced Materials and Polymers (CAMP) and Environmental Lead for the Soldier Center. She was also a Team Leader for CFD’s Advanced Materials Engineering Team whose team’s mission was to research and develop innovative packaging for rations. She maintains and builds collaborations with industry, academia and government laboratories to help support CFD’s mission.

 JoAnn holds a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from College of the Holy Cross, Worcester MA and both a Master’s and Doctorate degree in Plastics Engineering from the University of Massachusetts Lowell.