Jean & Douglas McLean Professor in Fiber Science & Apparel Design & Director of Graduate Studies
233 Human Ecology Building (HEB)
Ithaca, New York

Fiber Science & Apparel Design


After obtaining Ph.D. from North Carolina State University in 1984 Dr. Netravali joined the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Cornell University as a postdoctoral associate. In 1985 he joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering as a research associate and in August of 1987 he joined the Department of Fiber Science & Apparel Design (FSAD) as an Assistant Professor of Fiber Science. At present he is the Jean and Douglas McLean Professor of Fiber Science. His main research areas are Fiber Reinforced Composites and Green Materials and Processes. In composites, the primary focus of his research group is to develop sustainable and environment-friendly thermoset resins from plant-based proteins and starches and to fabricate Green Composites, using plant based reinforcements. These green composites are intended to be replacements for petroleum based composites. In the past few years, his research group has developed green resins and adhesives using plant based proteins and starches with excellent mechanical properties. These carbon-neutral ‘green’ alternatives have properties comparable to conventional petroleum-based composites and can be composted at the end of their life. Unlike most conventional resins these green resins are fully sustainable and biodegradable. His group has also made ‘Advanced Green Composites’ with high strength and toughness that could be used in structural and ballistic applications and ‘Self-healing Green Composites’ that can repair themselves autonomously, thus extending their working life. 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 fine-tune their adhesion to resins and thus to control the composite properties. A third and current focus of his group is to develop green processes for cotton and woolen fabrics to obtain hydrophobic or ultra-hydrophobic as well as anti-wrinkle properties.


  • High strength fiber reinforced plastics, also known as Advanced Composites, are now commonly used in place of metals in applications that include aerospace and automobiles because of their excellent mechanical properties combined with much lower density. Most high strength fibers and resins used in these ‘advanced composites’ are produced using petroleum as the feedstock, 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 high production growth due to expanding applications of composites in the past 2-3 decades, their disposal at the end of their useful life has become difficult as well as expensive. Composites, made by bonding two dissimilar materials, particularly those using thermoset resins, are almost impossible to recycle or reuse. While only a small fraction of the composite waste is ground into powder for use as low grade filler or incinerated to recover energy, most of the composites end up in landfills. Major part of our research is directed towards creating fully sustainable and environment-friendly ‘green’ resins and composites using yearly renewable plant based polymers and fibers that are also carbon neutral. At the end of their life green composites can be easily composted to create organic soil that can help grow more plants. Green composites fabricated using plant based proteins or starches and fibers developed by our 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 toughness comparable to aramid fiber based composites. Some of these advanced green composites made using modified LCC fibers have high strength and stiffness and may be used as primary structural elements and even for some ballistic applications. Second part of our research is in the field of conventional Advanced Composites made using high strength fibers such as graphite, aramids and ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) that are used in a wide range of applications from aerospace to sports gear and from automobile body parts to civil structures. Critical mechanical properties of composites such as toughness and longitudinal and transverse strength are controlled by fiber/resin interfacial bonding. My research group is involved in modifying fiber surface topography and chemistry to control their adhesion to different resins. We have used many techniques including polymerizing and non-polymerizing plasmas, pulsed excimer laser, high power ion beam, solvent treatments and their combinations to obtain desired chemical groups on the fiber surface and obtain desired surface roughness to fine-tune the fiber/resin interfacial bonding. We are also able to control resin and fiber/resin interfacial properties adding nanoparticles and nanofibrils in the resin. Our group has been involved in producing randomly oriented and aligned bacterial cellulose (BC) nanofibers using food and agricultural wastes for applications in medicine, filtration as well as green composites. Our latest research involves developing new environment-friendly ‘green’ processes to obtain hydrophobic, ultra-hydrophobic and anti-wrinkle characteristics in cotton and woolen fabrics. Current research projects 1. Development of fully biodegradable, environment-friendly ‘green’ composites and nanocomposites using plant based fibers and resins 2. Development of self-healing and toughened green resins 3. Development of hybrid composites with high strength and stiffness for structural applications 4. Development of ‘green’ processes for anti-wrinkle, hydrophobic and ultra-hydrophobic characteristics in cotton and woolen fabrics 5. Development of ‘green’ seed coatings

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.

Kim J. R. and Netravali, A. N., "Self-Healing Starch-based ‘Green’ Thermoset Resin", Polymer, 117, pp. 150-159, 2017.  DOI: 10.1016/j.polymer.2017.04.026

Patil, N. V., Rahman, M. M. and Netravali, A. N., ‘Green’ Composites using Bio-resins from Agro-wastes and Modified Sisal fibers, Polymer Composites, Published Online, 10-5-2017. DOI: 10.1002/pc.24607

Qiu, K. and Netravali, A. N., In-situ produced bacterial cellulose nanofiber based hybrids for nanocomposites, Fibers, 5(3), pp 31, 2017.  DOI: 10.3390/fib5030031

Rahman, M. M., Netravali, A. N., High-performance ‘Green’ Nanocomposites using Aligned Bacterial Cellulose and Soy Protein, Composites Science & Technology, 146, 7 July 2017, Pages 183-190.  DOI: 10.1016/j.compscitech.2017.04.027

Kim J. R. and Netravali, A. N., One-Step Toughening of Soy Protein based Green Resin using Electrospun Epoxidized Natural Rubber Fibers, ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 5 (6), pp 4957–4968, 2017. DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.7b00347

Amirkhani, M., Netravali, A. N., Wencheng H., and Taylor, A., Seed coating containing soy flour as a plant-derived biostimulant to enhance broccoli seedling and plant growth, HortScience, 51(9), pp. 1121-1126, 2016.  DOI: 10.21273/HORTSCI10913-16

Zhong, Y. and Netravali, A. N., Green Surface Treatment for Water Repellant Cotton Fabrics, Surface Innovations, 4, pp. 3-13, 2016 DOI: org/10.1680/jsuin.15.00022

Kalita, D. and Netravali, A. N., Interfaces in green composites, Reviews of Adhesion and Adhesives, 3 (4), pp. 386-443, 2015. DOI: 10.7569/RAA.2015.097311


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 also an Adjunct Professor at the Universidade Federal do Amazonas (UFAM), in Manaus, Brazil, and in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering at Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL.  He is a member of the Engineering Panel of the Research Grants Council (RGC) of Hong Kong. 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 continuing member of the Advisory Committee of the International Conference on Green Composites, a member of the International Scientific Committee for the Amazonic Green Materials and Processes Meetings as well as a member of the Scientific Committee.  He is also a Faculty Fellow at the David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future at Cornell University.






- I am a member of the Cornell Center for Materials Research (CCMR) and have worked through the center on some of their outreach activities.

- I am a Faculty Fellow at the Atkinson Center for Sustainable Future (ACSF) and participate in some of their activities relevant to my teaching and research.

- I have made several presentations to different Cornell groups and visitors and others in the state of NY as well as worldwide on my group’s research in Environment-Friendly Green Materials and their applications.

- I have 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 processing wastes into value added products. This has opened up possibilities for collaborations with industries and/or licensing of Cornell technologies.


I teach FSAD 1350, Fibers, Fabrics and Finishes, for freshmen in FSAD. This is a required course for all FSAD students. About half of the students are from other departments within the College of Human Ecology or other colleges across the campus. Even students from outside Cornell who take the course to fulfill their science requirements. 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 of fabrics. Teaching this course is always a challenge because of the diverse interests and backgrounds of the students. I teach students both conventional and new green/sustainable materials, conventional fiber applications and the latest innovations in the field as well as new technologies/applications of fibers.

I also teach FSAD 1360, Fiber and Yarn Analysis Laboratory, which consists of several lab sessions in which students get hands on experience while learning techniques to identify and characterize fibers and yarns. This course is restricted to FSAD students only.

I also teach FSAD 3350, Fiber Science, at the junior level. This course is designed for the students in the Fiber Science option and 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 have also taken this course. FSAD 3350 also has lab sections for characterizing various fiber properties. This course has been useful in attracting engineering students into Fiber Science program. Many MSE and CBE students have done research in my group in the past few years. Several other students have worked in other FSAD faculty labs as well. Many MSE students have taken the advantage of the Fiber Science minor which was launched a few years ago.

At the graduate level, I teach FSAD 6200, Physical Properties of Fiber Forming Polymers and Fibers. It is a theoretical course that discusses properties of polymers and relationship between fiber structure, 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 graduate students in FSAD, students from other colleges, particularly engineering, also take it.

Ongoing teaching goals are to refine and strengthen course contents for all three courses while incorporating the latest developments and 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. Many times the 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 classes 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 4900- Independent Reading and Research

  • Ph.D. - North Carolina State University, Fiber and Polymer Science
  • M.S. - North Carolina State University, Fiber and Polymer Science
  • M.S. - University of Bombay, Textiles
  • B.S. - University of Bombay, Textiles



Member, Graduate admission committee for the field of Textiles

Chair, Search Committee, Fiber Science Faculty, 2017

Director of Graduate Studies, Field of Textiles

Member, Ad hoc committee, Faculty tenure & promotion, AAP

Member, Faculty Industrial Advisory Committee, CCMR

Acting Chair - Several times

Faculty Advisor, Cornell Badminton Club