Research is about taking a problem and finding suitable solutions.
This is the mantra of award winning researcher and innovator, Dr Asis Patnaik, who will spearhead research activities in the field of technical/smart textiles at CPUT.
Patnaik recently joined the Department of Clothing and Textile Technology and holding a NRF-C2 rating since 2015, he joins the growing ranks of high profile researchers at CPUT.
A renowned expert in technical textiles, he has extensive experience in working with industrial partners and funding agencies to solve research and development problems, and his efforts have resulted in an impressive 62 publications in peer-reviewed accredited sources and two technology demonstrators.
One of Patnaik’s most notable research ventures resulted in the development of innovative dual insulation (sound and thermal) materials for the building and automotive industries, manufactured entirely from waste plastic bottles and discarded sheep wool. Patnaik says the innovation not only provides consumers with a cost-effective insulation options but has created business opportunities for local entrepreneurs and sheep farmers.
“We want to move away from outsourcing from abroad. Research must also be about creating jobs and empowering people,” he says.
With more than 350 different textiles available in the market, the field of technical textiles is very diverse and is not limited to clothing but extends to textiles and technical textile based materials suitable for the manufacturing, automotive, medical, building and footwear industries amongst others.
“The word “technical textiles” means textile based materials used for technical applications. Some of the examples of such materials are roof celling insulation materials for the building, filters for air and water populations, surgical gowns and face masks used in the medical fields,” says Patnaik.
“In a car interior, there are about 40% textile materials used for various applications. It can be in the form of seat, carpet or sound absorbing materials generally used behind the bonnet or door panel of the car to absorb the engine and road noise.”
Patnaik says it’s an exciting field and one with endless opportunities to innovate.
He is also currently working on several innovative projects, including the design of specialised footwear for diabetic patients and the development of an antimicrobial textile that will be derived from natural resources.
*Elsevier publisher selected over 30 publications from various disciplines to feature in a virtual special issue to Celebrate Earth Day on 22nd April 2017. This issue focuses on the research work done to solve some pressing problems the Earth is facing today. One of Patnaik’s article is featured in that selected list of distinguished authors published papers for 2017.