The PhilaU “X FACTOR”

leading the way is textile research

Textile Research

As part of the Philadelphia University Research Center (PURC), the scientists at The Laboratory for Engineered Human Protection (LEHP) have been making major advances in the field of textile research since the lab’s establishment in 2004.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, PhilaU scientists are working with the Natick Soldier Center on the development, coordination and integration of complex systems incorporated in the protective garments for military personnel.  The goal is to create protective garments for American servicemen and women against battlefield hazards, which are also sufficiently comfortable to wear for the periods of time required by their missions. 

This task is a significant challenge because increasing the protective features against chemical warfare adds to the weight of the garment and also the extent to which it must encapsulate the body. The researcher’s highly specialized designs must offer both protection from chemical toxins and also prevent the wearer from becoming overheated during the stress of battle.

In the state-of-the-art laboratory, textile and engineering faculty and student researchers use specially designed equipment -- such as the Sweating Manikin (pictured) and an environmental chamber -- to develop and test the technologically advanced materials.

One of LEHP’s early research successes has been the development of an artificial neural network model used to investigate the relationship of the many parameters that govern the prediction of comfort.

“Philadelphia University is a worldwide leader in cutting-edge textiles research,” said President Stephen Spinelli Jr., Ph.D. “Furthering the research conducted at the Laboratory for Engineered Human Protection will advance the development of the best possible protective apparel and garments for U.S. soldiers.”

Since its establishment, a total of $9 million in federal funds from the U.S. Department of Defense has been appropriated to support LEHP as well as an additional $500,000 appropriated to support the University’s new Biomedical Textile Structures Laboratory (BTSL) and campus science laboratory equipment.