UT partners with MIT exploring innovations in fibers and fabrics

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The University of Tennessee has been selected to participate in a $317 million public-private partnership run by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced Friday.

Similar to the UT-led Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation announced by the White House in 2015, the MIT partnership, named Advanced Functional Fibers of America, won a national competition for federal funding to create a Manufacturing Innovation Institute designed to accelerate high-tech U.S.-based manufacturing.

This latest Manufacturing Innovation Institute is focused on highly functional advanced fibers and textiles for the defense and commercial markets.

UT is one of 31 universities in the fiber institute's ecosystem and will assist by producing new types of fibers for commercial and military use in their fully developed nonwovens research lab on campus as well as the Textiles and Nonwovens Development center.

The funding will cover a five-year period and will be administered through a new independent nonprofit organization set up for the purpose. The partnership, which will focus on both developing new technologies and training the workforce needed to operate and maintain these production systems, also includes a network of community colleges and professional development institutes.