Principal investigator: Ryan Masoodi

University: Thomas Jefferson University

Industry partners: Coexist Build LLC; Lone Cricket Productions/DBA Hall & Kull

A Pennsylvania-based manufacturer produces approximately 13 tons of mixed length wool fiber waste annually as part of the production of its consumer-oriented products. This material is currently either sold for a nominal price or landfilled. This waste could be recycled to produce other goods, such as insulation, lampshades, and blankets. Finding alternative applications could allow for this material to be diverted into value-added products. Nonwoven production is a means to rapidly produce fabric without the need to convert fibers into yarns. This fabric production method can be used to process waste materials into fabrics that can be used in viable applications. For example, shoddy is a nonwoven fabric consisting of waste fibers, yarns, and fabric scraps and has been used for automotive insulation and carpet underlayment for years.

In this project, we will work with Coexist Build LLC and Lone Cricket Productions to develop methods of converting this wool waste into viable products so that the waste can be diverted from the landfill or used in low-value applications. This work will involve: (1) characterizing the fibers as received, (2) determining methods to convert them into fabrics, (3) evaluating the fabric properties in terms of thickness, insulating capacity and R-value, strength, stiffness, and similar properties, and (4) identifying applications for these materials.