Conferences aim to inform and surprise delegates, so in inviting Dr. Mridula Nair from Kodak as this year’s Emerging Technologies Conference plenary speaker, curiosity was undoubtedly aroused—Kodak and textiles! Nair is a research fellow and distinguished inventor at Kodak, serving as senior principal scientist for Kodak’s Kodalux Light Blocking coated textile business.
The first surprise was discovering that textiles are not, in fact, new to the company. In the 1950s and 1960s Kodak was involved in acrylic and polyester fibers; from the 1960s to the 1980s it moved on to the development of textile dyes for dying cellulose acetate, polyester and polyamide fibers.
Today, its Kodalux for light blocking uses microparticle technology that works on the principle of scattering, absorption and reflection. “Light is blocked because the pathway of light is scattered and, where it eventually finds its way through to the absorbing layer, it is blocked,” Nair explains.
Kodalux offers a more sustainable solution to light-blocking window shade through several strategies. The use of a single layer material, reducing wet and dry cycles and the number of formulations, as well as eliminating the use of carbon black and flock fibers, means overall less energy, effluent and resources. The carbon footprint is reduced as the product is manufactured at Kodak, and the factory itself is built using recycled assets.
The technology has the potential to add functionalities in the future, such as the ability to block heat and sound, in addition to light.