After receiving Ph.D. from North Carolina State University Dr. Netravali joined the Department of Materials Science & Engineering and Mechanical Engineering at Cornell University as a postdoctoral associate and research associate. After that he joined the Department of Fiber Science & Apparel Design (FSAD) as an Assistant Professor of Fiber Science. Currently he is the Jean and Douglas McLean Professor of Fiber Science. His current research is in the areas of Fiber Reinforced Composites and Green Materials and Processes. In composites, the primary focus of his research group is to develop environment-friendly resins from sustainable sources such as plant-derived proteins and starches and use plant based reinforcements to engineer ‘Green Composites’ with desired properties. While carbon-neutral green composites can be engineered to have properties comparable to conventional petroleum-based composites, unlike conventional composites that end up in landfills, green composites are biodegradable and can be composted at the end of their life. Netravali group has also developed Advanced Green Composites with high strength and toughness that may be used in some structural or ballistic applications, Toughened Green Composites and Self-healing Green Composites that can autonomously repair themselves and Fire Resistant Green Composites. The second focus of his group is modification of fiber surfaces to control fiber/resin interface characteristics in composites. His research group has used many techniques including polymerizing and non-polymerizing plasmas, pulsed excimer laser, high power ion beam, solvent treatments, etc., to modify fiber surface chemistry and topography to control their adhesion to resins and, thus, to control the composite properties. A third focus of his group is developing green chemical processes to obtain functional properties in cotton and wool fibers and fabrics. His group has developed several green technologies to obtain hydrophobic, ultra-hydrophobic and anti-wrinkle cotton fabrics as well as treatments for hair stabilization and enhancing wool fiber strength.
Current Research Activities
High strength fiber reinforced plastics or Advanced Composites are used in many applications from aerospace to sports equipment and from automobiles to windmill blades because of their high specific mechanical properties. Most high strength fibers and resins used in advanced composites, at present, are derived from petroleum, a non-renewable resource that is projected to last only a few decades at the current rate of consumption. Further, these composites do not degrade in natural environment. With exponential production growth in the past few decades due to expanding applications of composites, their disposal at the end of their life has not only become difficult but expensive as well. Composites made using thermoset resins are difficult to be recycled or reused in any other application. While only a small fraction of the composite waste is ground into powder for use as low grade filler or incinerated to recover energy, over 90% of the composites end up in landfills. Major part of our research is directed towards developing fully sustainable and environment-friendly ‘green’ resins and composites using yearly renewable plant based polymers and fibers that tend to be carbon neutral as well. At the end of their life green composites can be composted to create organic soil which can be used to grow more plants. Green composites based on plant proteins or starches and fibers developed in our research group are suitable for use in packaging, housing or transportation panels, furniture, board sports and secondary structural applications. We have also developed Advanced Green Composites using liquid crystalline cellulose (LCC) fibers that have excellent tensile properties. In addition, we have been able to enhance their tensile properties even further by a combination of chemical, mechanical and thermal treatments. Advanced green composites with modified LCC fibers possess high strength and stiffness and can be used in primary structural or ballistic applications.
Our group is involved in producing randomly oriented and aligned bacterial cellulose (BC) nanofibers using food and agricultural wastes. BC nanofibers are suitable for use in medicine, filtration as well as green composites. We have developed green composites with additional functionalities such as autonomously self-healing, high toughness and fire resistance.
Our latest research involves developing new environment-friendly processes and technologies based on Green Chemistry principles to obtain hydrophobic, ultra-hydrophobic and anti-wrinkle characteristics in cotton. We have also developed fully green technologies for hair stabilization which can replace current formaldehyde based method for obtaining straight or curly hair. Another green technology we have developed is for enhancing the strength of wool fibers, which are inherently weak natural fibers. Stronger wool fibers have significant benefits that include, increasing spinning and weaving efficiencies and enhancing the quality of the fabrics by reducing the defects. However, the biggest advantage of this technology could be to spin finer yarns with coarser fibers.
Current research projects
1. Development of fully biodegradable, environment-friendly ‘green’ composites and nanocomposites
2. Development of autonomously self-healing and toughened green resins & composites
3. Development of advanced green composites with high strength and stiffness
4. Development of ‘green’ technologies for anti-wrinkle, hydrophobic and ultra-hydrophobic characteristics in cotton and other cellulose based fabrics
5. Development of ‘green’ technologies for hair stabilization and strengthening of wool fibers
6. Development of stronger and tougher 3-D printable cement using natural fiber based multi-scale approach
I have taught FSAD 1350, Fibers, Fabrics and Finishes, for freshmen in FSAD for several years. This is a required course for all FSAD students. About half the students in this course come from other departments within the College of Human Ecology (CHE) or other colleges across the campus. Even students from outside Cornell have taken this course to fulfill their science requirement. The course introduces the students to properties of natural and synthetic fibers, production and properties of yarns and fabrics as well as dyeing and finishing processes for natural and synthetic fabrics. In this course students learn about both synthetic and new green/sustainable fiber and fabrics, conventional fiber applications as well as the latest innovations in the field and new technologies and applications of fibers.
FSAD 1360, Fiber and Yarn Analysis Laboratory, a 1-credit course consisting of several lab sessions is taught along with FSAD 1350. In this course students learn techniques to identify and characterize fibers, yarns and fabrics.
I also teach FSAD 3350, Fiber Science, at the junior level. This course is designed for the students in the Fiber Science option but is also a recommended elective for Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (CBE). However, students from other colleges as well as other departments in CHE also take this course. The course covers topics in polymer science, fiber chemistry and morphology, fiber properties and their applications. Latest research and new developments in fiber science and applications are also covered. FSAD 3350 also has lab sections for characterizing various fiber properties. This course has been particularly useful in attracting engineering students to Fiber Science program. Many MSE and CBE students have worked in my group in the past few years. Many MSE students have also taken the advantage of the Fiber Science minor which was launched a few years ago.
At the graduate level, I have taught FSAD 6200, Physical Properties of Fiber Forming Polymers and Fibers. It is a theoretical course which discusses properties of polymers and relationship between fiber structure and morphology, fiber chemistry and their physical properties. Thermal, mechanical and other properties of fibers and methods of characterizing them are also discussed. While this course is meant for Fiber Science graduate students, students from other colleges, particularly engineering, also take it.
Ongoing teaching goals are to refine and update course contents for all three courses while incorporating the latest research into FSAD 6200 and FSAD 3350. When possible, I also invite industrial and academic guest lecturers to give students the opportunity to get the outside perspective. Guest speakers also serve as future contacts for students during their job searches or higher studies. I also have a large collection of interesting specimens to show in the courses I teach. Students, particularly undergrads, always appreciate such real life examples in the class as it helps connect the theory to the real life situations.
FSAD 1350: Fibers, Fabrics and Finishes
FSAD 1360: Fiber and Yarn Analysis Lab
FSAD 3320: Product Quality Assessment
FSAD 3350: Fiber Science
FSAD 4010: Empirical Research
FSAD 4020: Supervised Fieldwork
FSAD 4030: Teaching Apprenticeship
FSAD 4990: Undergraduate Research
FSAD 6200: Physical Properties of Fibers and Fiber Forming Polymers
FSAD 8990: MS Research
FSAD 9990: PhD Research
MSE 3900: Undergraduate Research
MSE 4900: Independent Reading and Research
Advanced Green Composites, Netravali, A. N., (Ed.), Scrivener Publishing, Beverly, MA, and John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, 2018.
Interface/Interphase in Polymer Nanocomposites, Netravali, A. N. and Mittal, K. L., (Eds.), Scrivener Publishing, Beverly, MA, and John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, 2017.
Souzandeh H. and Netravali, A. N., Self-Healing ‘Green’ Thermoset Zein Resin using Multi-geometrical Starch-based/Poly(D,L-lactic-co-glycolic acid) Microcapsules, Composites Science & Technology, 2019. DOI: 10.1016/j.compscitech.2019.107831
Patil, N. V. and Netravali, A. N., Bioinspired ‘green’ process using anisotropic silica particles and fatty acid for superhydrophobic cotton fabric, Cellulose, 2019. DOI : 10.1007/s10570-019-02811-4
Patil, N. V. and Netravali, A. N., Cyclodextrin-based wrinkle-free finishing of cotton fabrics, ACS Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 2019. DOI: 10.1021/acsjecr.9b04092
Netravali A. N., Advanced Green Composites: New Directions, Materials Today: Proceedings, 8, pp. 832-838, 2019. DOI:org/10.1016/j.matpr.2019.02.025
Masoume Amirkhani, Hilary S. Mayton, Anil N. Netravali, and Alan G. Taylor, Seed Coating Delivery System for Bio-based Biostimulants to Enhance Plant Growth, Sustainability, 2019. DOI:10.3390/su11195304
Lewis, L. N., Park, H., Netravali, A. N. and Trejo H., Closing the Loop: A Scalable Zero-Waste Model for Apparel Reuse and Recycling, International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education, 10:3, pp. 353-362, 2017. DOI: 10.1080/17543266.2016.1263364
Rahman, M. M., Netravali, A. N., Advanced Green Composites using Liquid Crystalline Cellulose Fibers and Waxy Maize Starch Based Resin, Composites Science & Technology, 162, pp. 110-116, 2018. DOI: 10.1016/j.compscitech.2018.04.023
Rahman, M. M., Netravali, A. N., High-performance ‘Green’ Nanocomposites using Aligned Bacterial Cellulose and Soy Protein, Composites Science & Technology 146, July 2017, Pages 183-190. DOI: 10.1016/j.compscitech.2017.04.027
Dr. Netravali is a member of the American Chemical Society, the Fiber Society, American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) and the American Nano Society. He is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering at Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL. He has also been a member of the Engineering Panel of the Research Grants Council (RGC) of Hong Kong since 2013. He is the Editor of Reviews of Adhesion and Adhesives - Open Access Supplement (RAA-OAS) and an Associate Editor of AATCC Journal of Research. Additionally, he serves on the Editorial Advisory Boards of six research journals; Composites Science and Technology (CST), Journal of Biobased Materials and Bioenergy (JBMBE), Journal of Renewable Materials (JRM), Journal of Engineered Fibers and Fabrics (JEFF), Fibers, and Textile Research Journal (TRJ). He is a founding member and a member of the Advisory Committee of the International Conference on Green Composites. He is also a Faculty Fellow at the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability. He has edited or co-edited 4 books and authored or co-authored over 165 peer reviewed research papers and book chapters.
- Prof. Netravali is a member of the Cornell Center for Materials Research (CCMR) and work through them on some of their outreach activities.
- Prof. Netravali is a Faculty Fellow at the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability and participate in their activities related to sustainability.
- Prof. Netravali is has made several presentations to different Cornell groups and visitors and others in the state of NY as well as worldwide on my research in Environment-Friendly Green Materials and their applications.
- Prof. Netravali has presented several lectures on ‘Green Materials and Processes’ to the visiting business leaders and educators through the Agribusiness Management Program (CALS) on using agricultural and food wastes into value added products. This has opened up possibilities for collaborations with industries or licensing of Cornell technologies.
Director, Graduate Studies (DGS)
Member, Faculty Industrial Advisory Board, CCMR
Acting FSAD Chair
Ph.D., Fiber and Polymer Science, North Carolina State University
M.S., Fiber and Polymer Science, North Carolina State University
M.S., Textiles, University of Bombay
B.S., Textiles, University of Bombay