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December 22, 2017

New $3.9m grant to research advanced fibres and fabrics

A further $3.9m in funding has been awarded to support the second phase of research into advanced fibres and fabrics for the US defence sector.

By Leonie Barrie

A further $3.9m in funding has been awarded to support the second phase of research into advanced fibres and fabrics for the US defence sector.

It follows an initial $2.2m grant announced in May 2017 for the Defense Fabric Discovery Center, a cutting-edge research hub that opened in Massachusetts in October.

And it brings the investment to the partnership between MIT Lincoln Laboratory and the US Army Natick Soldier Research Development & Engineering Center (NSRDEC) to $6.1m.

The latest grant was made as part of the Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative (M2I2), which provides a vehicle for the state to match federal investments in the Manufacturing USA institutes, including the Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA).

It will help the Center expand research into how to apply emerging advanced fibre and fabric technologies for defence applications. This includes equipment that will allow for end-to-end prototyping including computer-aided design (CAD) of functional fabrics, fibre and yarn device fabrication, textile system and assemblies, and system integration to develop smart uniforms, emergency medical supplies and portable shelters.

The latest move comes after the Department of Defense in April 2016 announced plans to establish AFFOA in Massachusetts, a $317m public-private partnership to boost domestic manufacturing by transforming traditional fibres, yarns and fabrics into highly sophisticated, integrated and networked products and systems.

The Defense Fabric Discovery Center, part of a network of AFFOA fabric discovery centres, specifically addresses challenges faced by the Department of Defense through innovations in advanced fibre and fabric technology.

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