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

Gerard Ortiz

A staff of 3rd-yr engineering majors led by Vivian Krause ’24 and mentored by Assistant Professor of Engineering Jonathan Su is collaborating with Burlington’s Sound Point out Apparel and TS Patterns to come across the best way to protect all-natural dyes.

An Elon engineering major’s independent exploration into sustainable dyes with a Burlington clothes corporation has evolved into a class undertaking that will “advance dye science all over the world.”

Vivian Krause ’24 partnered with Reliable Condition Clothing in spring 2022 to investigate procedures of preserving in a natural way sourced, sustainable dyes with her mentor, Assistant Professor of Engineering Jonathan Su. Strong Condition Clothes is a subsidiary of TS Styles — a Burlington business with a 40-yr background of advancing sustainable textile technologies and techniques, which includes the use of nearby and regionally sourced supplies.

A single of the difficulties of manufacturing apparel with dyes derived from all-natural components is the seasonal availability and sourcing of ingredients, explained Courtney Lockemer, Good State Clothing’s brand name supervisor. Currently being in a position to protect dyes would not only make company far more effective but make it possible for Sound Condition and TS Styles to better aid the neighborhood farmers in delivering these elements.

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

“There is not a great deal of science about all-natural dyes, due to the fact chemical dyes have been principally employed considering that the mid-1800s. The research of sustainable dyes that is happening is scattered. This task is critical for the reason that it will progress dye science about the planet,” Lockemer stated. “We’re energized to share this details with absolutely everyone doing work with dyes.”

The undertaking began as a result of ongoing attempts to deepen the Section of Engineering’s connections with place corporations and businesses via mutually effective university student investigate and design and style jobs. In fixing an outside entity’s authentic-earth challenges, undergraduates get a must have engineering expertise that mirrors work they will do in their careers.

Krause is pursuing a B.S. in engineering with a biomedical concentration. The principles of preserving sustainable dyes align with people of drug steadiness and diffusion, Su’s region of knowledge.

“I was fascinated in drug improvement and prescription drugs, and I also actually required to do the job with a area firm that has these kinds of a wonderful mission and is seeking to make their processes as sustainable as doable,” Krause reported. “They’re attempting to do a ton of superior with their firm and that made me more impassioned to changeover it to a yearlong Analysis Approaches project.”

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

Krause and a team of junior-stage engineers — Lauren Hanchar ’24, Mary Hermes ’24 and Jordan Wels ’24 — are screening different methods of dye preservation for 4 resources as a Analysis Methods venture. They are extracting dye from pomegranate skins, Osage orange tree wooden, black walnuts and madder root. Those extracts are currently being freeze dried, frozen, refrigerated, incubated and stored at space temperature, then utilized to t-shirt product equipped by Sound Point out. The workforce will compare and look at the distinctions in coloration and dye top quality between these approaches.

“At the conclusion of the 12 months, we want to current them with swatches of cloth and qualitative observations and final results in coloration soon after they are dyed making use of extracts preserved in all these distinct approaches, and also compare that to dying cloth with extract that is just been built,” Krause explained. “That really should advise their enterprise procedures for every of these dyes.”

The crew expects that freeze-dried — or lyophilized — dye will possible demonstrate to be the finest approach for preserving extracts over many seasons, owing to the actuality that the method removes water and lessens the prospects of degradation, Hermes claimed. The lyophilizing device alone is highly-priced but is fairly energy effective and has the capability to approach multiple forms of dye at at the time.

Five vials of various colored dyes on a lab table.
Sustainable and organic dye extract samples await testing in Innovation Corridor 308 as section of an engineering venture collaboration with Good State Clothes.

Lockemer said she and other people have been amazed by the talent and devotion of Krause and classmates included in the venture.

“Vivian is remarkable. She took charge from the beginning and was able to describe to us what the options were and what greatest approaches could be and has just run with it,” Lockemer explained. “She’s recommended by college, but to me, it’s like operating with a expert scientist. We’re dealing immediately with her and she’s unquestionably on top rated of it, and so is the rest of the crew.”

Krause is also a Lumen Scholar, one of 15 members of the Course of 2024 picked for the Lumen Prize — Elon’s top rated undergraduate investigation prize that delivers $20,000 for research and scholarship. Her task, “Factoring our Racial Bias: Building a Dual-Sensor Process for Pulse Oximetry,” is also mentored by Su and aims to reduce racial discrepancies in health care technology.

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