April 26, 2011

Peer Review: Keane ’11 Designs Noxious Gas Trapping Hood and Mask

Print More

Jennifer Keane ’11, an apparel design student, designed a hood and mask that can trap noxious gases. The clothes make use of metal organic framework molecules, which are essentially clustered crystalline compounds coordinated to form porous structures. This concept has been applied before, but this is the first time the process has been used on textiles –– to capture gases within the fabric. The current hood and mask were designed to trap carbon monoxide gas, although the process can be adapted to any other toxic gas as well.The FSAD major essentially consists of three tracks: design, management and fiber science. Keane, who is part of the design school, originally enrolled at Cornell as a pre-med student. Although always artistic, Keane mentioned she felt the pressure to major in the traditional sciences, but quickly realized that FSAD was a better fit for her. Despite this, Keane said she always remained fascinated by science and supplemented this interest by taking extra science classes.For the past year, Keane has collaborated with researchers from the fiber science department to develop these garments. After interning at Nike two years ago, Keane felt that her background in technical design and fitness attire made her compatible with the molecular organic molecule project.Prof. Juan Hinestroza, fiber science, and postdoctoral student Marcia Da Silva Pinto both worked closely with Keane to develop this material. Keane explained, “If you were working in real industry, I would kind of be like the business partner, being like we need it to do this and I need these requirements to actually make it a possible product.”The mask and hood are designed to trap gases until saturation, although the trapped gases can be released by using heat. When asked to describe the type of fabric used in this design, Keane clarified, “It’s more of a finish than an actual fabric, you can put…the chemical process on any kind of fabric, it’s just a matter of whether the fabric will hold up to it.”Although not directly involved in the chemistry of the product, Keane was solely responsible for the design of the outfit, which required some scientific research as well. When asked to describe her design, she responded, “It was a futuristic look at army wear using fabrics that mimic the body and how it bends…if you look at it, the way that the fabrics are placed is different stretches in different areas based on how much your body moves, and more open fabrics where you need heat regulation.”Keane describes her design style as mainly casual and athletic wear.  She explained that athletic garments were recently becoming fashion items, and she felt sports clothes were becoming more attractive. Working in this aspect of fashion also appealed to her interest in science, since the design had to be attractive as well as functional. Currently, Keane is learning German in preparation for her post-graduate plans, in which she will work for Adidas in Germany.  She will be working in product development and research for innovative technology group.

Original Author: Rujuta Natu