Oh, jeans! Sheldon Shi, a Department of Mechanical and Energy Engineering professor, has partnered with a jeans company in North Carolina to make use of wasted denim and turn it into something more useful. “We’re working with VF Jeanswear to fabricate structural panels for flooring in buildings,” said Shi. “By re-using their wasted denim fiber, we can hopefully create a new use for the material that is both practical and applicable to modern households.”
Shi says UNT is in a unique position in that it offers a 4-by-8 foot hot press capable of creating a full-size panel – a machine most universities do not have. “University of North Texas is the only university in the central south who has the 4-by-8 foot hot press,” said Shi. “I think one of the reasons they chose us was because we have the capability to fabricate full-size panels.”
The team has been asked to create 20 panels using the wasted denim fiber collected during production. Once the panels have been fabricated, Shi and his team will deliver them to the company, who will then construct a demo house to test the realistic capability of using the panels as flooring.