CONTACT: Majid Sarmadi, (608) 262-7492, email@example.com
UW-MADISON PROFESSOR WEAVES WISCONSIN IDEA INTO THE CHEMISTRY OF CLOTH
MADISON - To paraphrase a popular advertising line, Majid Sarmadi doesn't make the products you use every day. He makes them better.
The products in question here are textiles, and Sarmadi has uncovered new technologies to make cloth less static, more absorbent, more repellent, better able to take prints and dyes, deflect or absorb light, shield from electromagnetic radiation and more. In addition, he also has found methods of reducing waste and environmental pollution relating to textile manufacture.
A member of the University of Wisconsin-Madison faculty since 1986, Sarmadi holds joint appointments in both the College of Engineering's Materials Science Graduate Program and the School of Human Ecology's Department of Environment, Textiles and Design (ETD). As one of the world's leading textile chemists, a member of the Center for Plasma-Aided Manufacturing, Sarmadi works closely with colleagues in the disciplines of forestry, chemistry, medicine and biological systems engineering as well as materials science and textiles.
"I feel like a cluster hire all on my own," he says, although he is quick to credit his graduate students and colleagues, especially materials science associate professor Ferencz Denes, for his success. "Faculty stand on the shoulders of their colleagues and their graduate students," Sarmadi says.
The cornerstone of Sarmadi's research is applying cold plasma technology, generated in a high-voltage electric field at low pressure, to textiles. Specific plasma gases can modify functional characteristics of the fabric or achieve new properties.
Not one to stop there, however, Sarmadi also has applied his plasma technologies to reduce manufacturing waste and environmental pollution. For example, every day millions of gallons of water go toward the dyeing of fabrics; Sarmadi has devised a way to reuse the dye bath to both cut the level of environmental contaminants and save water and energy.
This application of plasma techniques has proved most personally satisfying of all his research activities, he says.