Our research is aimed at developing functional fibrous materials and clothing with enhanced performance and aesthetics through continuously improving our understanding of the interaction between human, fibrous materials/clothing and the environment. Our work is multi-disciplinary involving instrumentation, computational modeling, biomimetics, nanotechnology as well as psychology. Current research activities can be grouped into the following interrelated areas:
- Thermal Comfort
- Heat and Mass Transport in Fibrous Materials
- Development of Functional Fibrous Materials
- Development of Functional Clothing
- Body Image and Its Relation to Clothing
We have developed and are continuing to develop novel instrumentations to objectively measure thermal comfort properties of materials and clothing. These include the world renowned sweating fabric manikin-Walter, transplanar water transport tester, novel guarded sweating hot-plate (capable of simultaneously measure heat and mass loss), thermesthesiometer and the most recently developed female sweating fabric manikin-Wenda.
These instruments provided us with unprecedented tools to uncover the effect of fiber properties, geometric structure of fibrous materials, multilayer construction of clothing assemblies, clothing design & fit on thermal comfort, which is foundational to material development and functional clothing design. These instruments have used to test military uniform, activity wear, mattresses, sleeping bags, thermoregulatory materials, moisture management fabrics, as well as composite materials for smart phones and tablets.
Heat and Mass Transport in Fibrous Materials
We are interested in understanding the fundamental mechanisms of heat and mass transport in fibrous materials. We are the first in incorporating thermal radiation into the transient model of coupled heat and moisture transfer through fibrous materials, which resulted improved understanding of condensation within clothing across large temperature differences. We have improved understanding of liquid flow through branched tree-like networks, heat transfer through penguin down, and gas permeation & diffusion through micro/nano-fibrous materials.
We are currently exploring the possibility and understanding the underlining mechanisms of directional liquid flow through fibrous materials or nanochannels as well as developing theoretical frameworks for optimizing the transport properties of fibrous materials for various applications (e.g. maximum thermal insulation per unit thickness or weight, maximum water/wind resistance per unit moisture vapor permeability, maximum filtration efficiency per unit pressure drop).
Development of Functional Fibrous Materials
We are focused on developing multifunctional fibrous materials with enhanced comfort properties. These include the plant structured (branching structure) fabric, three-tier insulation materials, durable and breathable piezoelectric nanofibrous membranes for sensing and energy harvesting, breathable self-decontaminating fibrous materials.
Development of Functional Clothing
We are actively developing functional activity wear for various applications.
Body Image and Its Relation to Clothing
We are interested in identifying the objectivity of beauty and investigating how beauty perception is related to the physical characteristics of human body as well as how it can be enhanced by clothing. We discovered that VHI (body volume divided by the square of height) is the dominant factor of bodily attractiveness. After the publication of this work in Proceedings of Royal Society of London-Biological Sciences, this work was widely publicized by Nature News and numerous media.