As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to fill hospitals across the state, a number of Colorado producers are hoping to shift gears and start making medical robes for health-care professionals in need of personal protective tools. They have turned to a high-tech textile laboratory at Colorado State University for its experience in testing materials that could be used for the gowns.
CSU’s Smart Textiles and Nanotechnology Research Group, headed by Associate Professor Vivian Li in the Division of Design and Merchandising, is performing quite a lot of tests on fabrics that could be used for the medical robes, assessing elements like durability, consolation, safety, and health. Li, who has expertise in nanostructured materials for high-tech textiles and smart medical textiles, teaches a senior-level course in product high-quality assurance for textiles. Tony Vindell, a Ph.D. student in materials science and engineering who spent over three years testing textiles as a lab assistant for Cotton Incorporated in North Carolina, can be part of the research group.
Li stated the objective is twofold: assist firms in choosing the right type of fabric to manufacture the robes, and then test the finished gowns to ensure they meet standards for personal protective equipment (PPE) set by the Food and Drug Administration, ASTM International and the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists.