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Grantee Research Project Results

Development of Apparel and Footwear From Renewable Sources

EPA Grant Number: SU834707
Title: Development of Apparel and Footwear From Renewable Sources
Investigators: Cao, Huantian , Bonanno, Paula , Kramer, Jillian , Lipschitz, Stacey , Senoz, Erman , Wool, R. P.
Current Investigators: Cao, Huantian , Bonanno, Paula , Dan, Quan , Kramer, Jillian , Lipschitz, Stacey , Wool, R. P.
Institution: University of Delaware
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Project Period: August 15, 2010 through August 14, 2011
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2010)
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Materials & Chemistry , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development



Wool, leather, polyester, nylon, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) are commonly used materials in apparel and footwear. The production of these materials has big carbon emissions from livestock, uses depleting petroleum as sources for synthetic fibers and causes pollution from leather tanning and PVC production. To address these problems, we will design and develop apparel and footwear using renewable bio-based materials. We will accomplish four objectives in the 12-month project: a) developing and evaluating bio-based materials, i.e., thermosetting polymer resins, polyurethane foams, adhesives, and chicken feather fiber nonwovens, for apparel and footwear products; b) designing and producing one coat and one pair of boots using bio-based materials; c) evaluating the comfort, consumers’ acceptance, and cost of our design and product; d) revising the design based on evaluation results and developing educational tool.


The project is an interdisciplinary collaboration between faculty and students in the Department of Chemical Engineering (CHEG) and the Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies (FASH). Students in the ACRES (Affordable Composites from Renewable Sources) group in CHEG will develop thermoset resins, polyurethane foams, adhesive and nonwoven insulative materials from plant oils and chicken feather. Students in FASH will use these materials from renewable sources to design and develop apparel and footwear products. Mechanical and comfort properties of these bio-based materials will be evaluated in accordance with ASTM standards. A human subject wear test will be used to evaluate the product comfort, and a survey will be used to measure consumer acceptance of our products.

Expected Results:

At the end of this project, we will have the demonstration package including description of all the bio-based renewable materials used in the design, the coat and boot prototypes, and the evaluation results. This project will be integrated into required textiles course for both Fashion Merchandising and Apparel Design majors, as a case study unit. We will display our project at department, university, community and national levels. We will also submit a conference abstract and a journal manuscript for national dissemination.

Supplemental Keywords:

environmentally benign substitute, bio-based feedstock, textile, toxic use reduction;

Progress and Final Reports:
Final Report

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The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

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