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As a comprehensive research university, Drexel University’s vision of furthering knowledge through experiential and technology-infused education offers a unique context to address the future challenges of advanced manufacturing of functional fabrics.

The Center for Functional Fabrics (CFF) has gained national and international recognition for its groundbreaking functional fabrics research. Its methodology is defined by an integrated design thinking and doing approach that combines human-centered design with fabrication, from prototyping and product creation to full system integration. In its short history, CFF has established a highly collaborative environment, successfully merging diverse disciplines into multi- and transdisciplinary teams, and received funding in excess of $2.9M from the NSF, NIH and Keck Foundation. Our distinct capability focuses on the fabrication of 3D knitted fabric devices and the development of simulation, modeling and design tools suitable for advanced manufacturing of textiles.

Now settled into its permanent home at 3101 Market Street, CFF has expanded from a 2,000 ft2 space at its former location (Drexel's ExCITe Center) to a 10,000 ft2 facility where City Archives of Philadelphia previously resided. The newly renovated space also houses the Pennsylvania Fabric Discovery Center (PA FDC), that will serve as a regional hub that facilitates advanced textile manufacturing in Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic Region (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland). It is located in Philadelphia at Schuylkill Yards, the developing innovation district nestled between Amtrak’s 30th Street Station and Drexel’s campus. It will be both business and university-facing and easily accessible to industry, academia, and government.

The PA FDC is a member of the Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA). As the host of the PA FDC, CFF will strengthen AFFOA’s network of advanced functional fabrics manufacturing sites. The PA FDC will provide three complementary resources: 1) end-to-end rapid prototyping facilities, 2) regional incubator and accelerator for start-up companies, and 3) training facilities for educational outreach and workforce development.

Professor Genevieve Dion: Collaborations that Spark New Industries and Change Lives