Mountain View, Calif.-based specialty polymer design and chemical engineering company Macromolecular Inc. has been chosen to participate in the Revolutionary Fibers and Textiles Manufacturing Innovation Institute (RFT-MII), a $317 million public-private sector partnership with the U.S. Defense Department dedicated to ensure that the country stays at the leading edge of fiber science and the production of modern-day fabrics and fibers with extraordinary properties (“smart textiles”).
Some of contemplated smart textiles uses include protective firefighting gear that is impervious to the hottest flames, fabrics used in military applications (tents, backpacks, uniforms, blankets, etc.) that can convert sunlight into electricity without compromising primary functionality, fibers replicating the sensing capabilities of a smart watch, or detecting when a wounded soldier needs to be treated with an antimicrobial compression bandage.
The RFT-MII is the eighth manufacturing institute to be awarded by the Obama administration, building on the president’s vision to create a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation of at least 15 hubs across the country during his term in office. Collectively, the federal government’s commitment of nearly $600 million to the eight institutes has been matched by more than $1.2 billion in non-federal investment from across industry, academia and state governments.