Textile Students Win Award for Antimicrobial Applications in Art

Three Philadelphia University master’s students in textile design and textile engineering recently won first place in the 2015 Fabric Graphics Student Design Challenge.

Sarah McMahon and Isabella Amstrup, textile design graduate students, and Sarah Haas, textile engineering graduate student, won for their project “Antimicrobial Artwork,” which combines function and aesthetics in textile art that offers health benefits.

PhilaU students won first place for their antimicrobial artwork project.

PhilaU students won first place for their antimicrobial artwork project.

“Textiles imbued with antimicrobial characteristics are being sought for their ability to kill or inhibit the growth of microorganisms,” the winning team said.  The students used tea tree and eucalyptus essential oils, combined with a binding agent, in a textile-based artwork to inhibit the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium known to cause healthcare-acquired infections.

Textiles with antimicrobial finishes currently are used in hospital settings for such things as separating curtains and chair coverings.  At the same time, decorative, colorful artwork is often on display at children’s hospitals to cheer up patients and family members.  McMahon, Amstrup and Haas incorporated the healthcare characteristics of antimicrobials into a design that could displayed in a hospital.

“Adding art is an essential element to this product because the end goal is to brighten a space that often has a negative connotation,” the students said.

Haas also has been awarded the 2015 Industrial Fabrics Foundation Don Williams Scholarship, which was announced at the IFAI Expo this week in Anaheim, Calif. Read more in Textile World and Specialty Fabrics Review.

In addition to $500 cash prizes, all three PhilaU students were awarded expenses-paid trips to the meeting in Anaheim and will have their winning project featured there.

Posted in University Headlines