Elon University / Today at Elon / Junior engineers partner with local textile company to develop sustainable dyes

A team of third-year engineering majors led by Vivian Krause ’24 and mentored by Assistant Professor of Engineering Jonathan Su is collaborating with Burlington’s Sound State Outfits and TS Styles to locate the ideal way to maintain normal dyes.

An Elon engineering major’s impartial investigation into sustainable dyes with a Burlington apparel enterprise has evolved into a course venture that will “advance dye science around the entire world.”

Vivian Krause ’24 partnered with Good Condition Apparel in spring 2022 to investigate solutions of preserving naturally sourced, sustainable dyes with her mentor, Assistant Professor of Engineering Jonathan Su. Reliable State Clothes is a subsidiary of TS Layouts — a Burlington business with a 40-12 months history of advancing sustainable textile technologies and procedures, together with the use of regional and regionally sourced components.

One particular of the troubles of production outfits with dyes derived from natural substances is the seasonal availability and sourcing of substances, reported Courtney Lockemer, Sound Point out Clothing’s brand name manager. Remaining capable to maintain dyes would not only make company much more productive but make it possible for Reliable Condition and TS Designs to improved aid the neighborhood farmers in delivering those people ingredients.

A student working with instruments in a science lab
Vivian Krause ’24

“There is not a ton of science close to all-natural dyes, given that chemical dyes have been primarily made use of considering the fact that the mid-1800s. The investigation of sustainable dyes that is occurring is scattered. This project is important simply because it will progress dye science all over the planet,” Lockemer explained. “We’re psyched to share this info with anyone working with dyes.”

The venture commenced via ongoing initiatives to deepen the Department of Engineering’s connections with space organizations and companies through mutually advantageous college student investigation and layout assignments. In resolving an exterior entity’s real-globe challenges, undergraduates get priceless engineering expertise that mirrors get the job done they will do in their professions.

Krause is pursuing a B.S. in engineering with a biomedical concentration. The principles of preserving sustainable dyes align with all those of drug steadiness and diffusion, Su’s space of skills.

“I was intrigued in drug development and prescribed drugs, and I also seriously wanted to operate with a nearby firm that has these a great mission and is attempting to make their procedures as sustainable as probable,” Krause stated. “They’re attempting to do a great deal of very good with their organization and that produced me much more impassioned to changeover it to a yearlong Study Solutions task.”

Three students in a science lab
Jordan Wels ’24, still left, Mary Hermes ’24 and Lauren Hanchar ’24 put together dye samples in Innovation Corridor 308.

Krause and a crew of junior-stage engineers — Lauren Hanchar ’24, Mary Hermes ’24 and Jordan Wels ’24 — are screening a variety of approaches of dye preservation for four products as a Study Procedures job. They are extracting dye from pomegranate skins, Osage orange tree wood, black walnuts and madder root. All those extracts are being freeze dried, frozen, refrigerated, incubated and stored at room temperature, then utilized to t-shirt materials provided by Stable Point out. The team will compare and study the discrepancies in coloration and dye good quality concerning all those solutions.

“At the close of the year, we want to present them with swatches of material and qualitative observations and outcomes in coloration just after they are dyed using extracts preserved in all these unique procedures, and also compare that to dying material with extract that is just been created,” Krause claimed. “That ought to inform their business enterprise procedures for every of these dyes.”

The staff expects that freeze-dried — or lyophilized — dye will most likely demonstrate to be the ideal method for preserving extracts over quite a few seasons, because of to the reality that the method gets rid of h2o and decreases the possibilities of degradation, Hermes claimed. The lyophilizing machine by itself is costly but is comparatively energy efficient and has the ability to method various types of dye at the moment.

Five vials of various colored dyes on a lab table.
Sustainable and organic dye extract samples await tests in Innovation Corridor 308 as section of an engineering project collaboration with Reliable State Apparel.

Lockemer claimed she and many others have been amazed by the skill and devotion of Krause and classmates associated in the undertaking.

“Vivian is amazing. She took demand from the commencing and was able to reveal to us what the solutions ended up and what best procedures could be and has just operate with it,” Lockemer mentioned. “She’s encouraged by faculty, but to me, it is like doing the job with a qualified scientist. We’re working directly with her and she’s definitely on prime of it, and so is the rest of the group.”

Krause is also a Lumen Scholar, 1 of 15 associates of the Class of 2024 selected for the Lumen Prize — Elon’s top rated undergraduate study prize that supplies $20,000 for research and scholarship. Her undertaking, “Factoring our Racial Bias: Building a Dual-Sensor Technique for Pulse Oximetry,” is also mentored by Su and aims to get rid of racial discrepancies in health care technology.

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