Managing and Monitoring Moisture and Microfluidic Flow in Textile Fabrics (Beckham - Exponent)


“Managing and Monitoring Moisture and Microfluidic Flow in Textile Fabrics”

Haskell Beckham, Ph.D
Exponent, Inc.

Textile fabrics can be designed and constructed for a large variety of technical functions, and employed as stand-alone devices or as part of integrated wearable systems. Design options at the fiber, yarn and fabric level, coupled with large numbers of component material options and highly developed manufacturing infrastructure provide an accessible ‘toolbox’ to create fabrics for advanced applications. In this presentation, I will describe the basic parameters of hierarchical fabric design, beginning at the fiber level, and provide examples for fabrics with potential use as microcontactors and microfluidic devices. Woven textile fabrics were designed and constructed from hydrophilic and hydrophobic spun yarns to give planar substrates containing amphiphilic microchannels with defined orientations and locations. Polypropylene fibers were spun to give hydrophobic yarns, and the hydrophilic yarns were spun from a poly(ethylene terephthalate) copolyester. Water wicking rates into the fabrics were measured by video microscopy from single drops, relevant for point-of-care microfluidic diagnostic devices, and from reservoirs. Intra-yarn microchannels in the hydrophilic polyester yarns were shown to selectively transport aqueous fluids, with the flow path governed by the placement of the hydrophilic yarns in the fabric. By comparing fluid transport in fabric constructions with systematic variations in the numbers of adjacent parallel and orthogonal hydrophilic yarns, it was found that inter-yarn microchannels significantly increased wicking rates. Simultaneous wicking of an aqueous and hydrocarbon fluid into the hydrophilic and hydrophobic microchannels of an amphiphilic fabric was successfully demonstrated. The high degree of interfacial contact and micrometer-scale diffusion lengths of such coflowing immiscible fluid streams inside amphiphilic fabrics suggest potential applications as highly scalable and affordable microcontactors for liquid-liquid extractions.

Speaker Background

Dr. Haskell Beckham is a Principal Scientist in the Polymer Science and Materials Chemistry Practice at Exponent, a leading scientific and engineering consulting firm. Dr. Beckham joined Exponent after 20 years as a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology where he taught courses in chemistry and materials, and led a research program focused on the development and evaluation of polymers and textiles. He earned a B.S. in Textile Chemistry from Auburn University and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from MIT. His professional achievements have been recognized with awards from the National Science Foundation, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Fiber Society, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and Auburn University. Dr. Beckham’s current interests include testing and development of textiles and polymers used in products designed for a variety of markets, including protective, recreational, flooring, marine, packaging, biomedical, sports and healthcare.


Monday, April 25


Michael's Restaurant at Shoreline Park
2960 N. Shoreline Park
Mountain View, CA 94043



6 PM social hour
7 PM dinner
8 PM lecture


Employed/postdoc Student/unemployed/retired
Early Registration  $30 $15
Registration $35 $20
Walk-in (not guaranteed) $40 $25

Lecture-only is free.



We accept cash or checks at the door, or online payment via credit card. No-shows are responsible for full payment of registration fee.


Please register below or contact:

Len Radzilowski
phone: 650-361-3264

Deadline for registration:

11:59PM, Monday, April 18 for early registration discount.
5PM, Friday, April 22 for regular registration.

Dinner Selection:

Seafood - Broiled Salmon
Chicken - Chicken Marsala
Vegetarian - Vegetable Brochette

You should receive confirmation of your registration; if not, please contact us again.

We are sorry but registration for this event is now closed.

Please contact us if you would like to know if spaces are still available.