When Roopkatha (Roop) left India in 2015 to earn her master’s in Apparel, Textiles and Merchandising (ATM), she had no idea what was truly in store for her.
She didn’t know that she would become a Doctoral Fellow studying engineering technology and she certainly didn’t foresee that all of her lab hours would lead to the invention of a revolutionary product.
Roop has worked tirelessly to find opportunities for herself and make her own luck.
It is easy to hear about the ATM program and associate it with clothing design and the world of fashion. And while there may be a sliver of truth to that statement, in general, that is not the case.
Back in Calcutta, India, Roop studied textile technology, which is what led her to EMU.
“When I toured the campus, I found that EMU just has the facilities that we did not in Calcutta,” Roop said. “I got really excited (about EMU) right away.”
Textile technology isn’t something that gets talked about often, and as Roop noted, is something that is very overlooked. Textile technology involves taking a fabric and chemically modifying it to have new properties without destroying the natural qualities of the original material.
“This challenge is what I love so much,” Roop said. “My work is in adding functionality to the textile without letting it forget who it is.”
Roop’s academic success has allowed her to intern at Adient, an auto industry supplier, as an engineer in the Complete Seats department. There she works on things like trim, foam and seat design for many auto companies, including Tesla.
While working with Adient, she attended the NAIAS Auto Show in Detroit and realized that there was a large demand for fabric that was both water repellent and didn’t stain.
After conducting research, Roop decided that she needed to come up with a fabric that was superhydrophobic, which is both water repellent and stain proof.
Along with the help of her advisor, Dr. Subhas Ghosh, Roop came up with a combination of chemicals and a unique treatment process, that is able to make fabric superhydrophobic.
This means that when a liquid comes in contact with it, the liquid is repelled and rolls off revealing a clean and dry fabric. Roop’s fabric has been tested to effectively repel water, coffee, coke and tea with more testing to be done in the future.
Even though Roop has seen great success so far, she is hungry for more. “I want my work to be remembered,” she said. “I want to work on projects that make all the time and work worth it.”
With that mentality and her work ethic, Roop is sure to make an impact in her field.
Until then, she will continue pursuing her Phd at EMU and leave us all excited to see what is in store for her.
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