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Dr Shou Dahua wins distinguished achievement in fiber science

4 Oct 2023

Research & Innovation

Dr Shou Dahua, Limin Endowed Young Scholar in Advanced Textiles Technologies and Assistant Professor, has been recognised by The Fiber Society with the Award for Distinguished Achievement in Fiber Science. This award is presented annually to an individual under the age of 40 who has made notable contributions to the field of basic or applied fibre science and materials engineering. The award presentation ceremony will take place at The Fiber Society’s Fall 2023 Technical Meeting and Conference in October 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

The award recognises Dr Shou’s distinguished and important professional achievements in advancing the areas of personal thermal and moisture management, intelligent wearables, and soft robotics. Dr Shou says, “The Fiber Society’s Distinguished Achievement in Fiber Science award is a great honour for me. I am deeply committed to creating intelligent wear for better health, wear comfort, performance, and sustainability in the future.”

Prof. Christopher Chao, Vice President (Research and Innovation) of PolyU, said, “This achievement highlights the unwavering dedication of PolyU scholars toward research, consistently pushing the boundaries of academic knowledge and innovation. Dr Shou’s accomplishment has paved the way for future advancements in the industry, leaving an indelible mark on the world of fashion and textiles.”

Prof. Erin Cho, Dean of SFT also acknowledged Dr Shou’s contributions: “This prestigious recognition is a testament to Dr Shou’s expertise and intellectual prowess in the field of fibre science, as well as his commitment and perseverance in the pursuit of research excellence. Our School is thrilled by the fact that his groundbreaking contributions are being recognised on a global scale with this award.”

Fibre, fabric, and fashion research works greatly emphasise thermal and moisture comfort, with Dr Shou leading the way in pioneering transformative technologies in this field. He has made significant contributions to moisture management and reported on the development of the world's first sweatable textile fabric: Sweatextile. This fabric enables fast, one-way liquid flow through spatially distributed channels that act like "sweating glands", while repelling external liquid contaminants. The study, titled “Skin-like fabric for personal moisture management” has been published in Science Advances.

In addition to his other translational research endeavours, Dr Shou has developed a premium fabric named Omni-Cool-Dry, which drew inspiration from beetles. This fabric not only provides ultra-fast sweat dissipation and ensures all-day wear comfort with its cooling, drying, and breathable features under dynamic thermal conditions, but also reflects solar radiation and emits body heat into the environment, thus enabling passive cooling. Omni-Cool-Dry is an excellent solution for personal cooling, as heat records continue to be shattered globally.

Furthermore, Dr Shou invented iActive, an intelligent, electrically-activated activewear designed for sweat management. These nature-inspired technologies, including low-voltage-driven artificial "sweat glands" and a root-like branching liquid transport system that aligns with the body's sweat map, can effectively and systematically remove sweat.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a significant demand for breathable and comfortable protective equipment. Dr Shou and his team developed “iFiber”, which leverages on advanced functional materials and wearable technologies and resulted in the first air-conditioned mask, Omni-Cool-Breath.

As Principal Investigator, Dr Shou has secured nine external competitive research grants, including the General Research Fund/Early Career Scheme from the Research Grants Council; Innovation and Technology Fund from the Innovation and Technology Commission; and Environment Conservation Fund from the Environment and Ecology Bureau. He is also dedicated to developing innovative projects, such as soft robotic clothing for adaptive thermoregulation, an intelligent hip protector for the elderly, intelligent activewear with sweat-based health monitoring, and an all-textile solar steam generator for clean water production.

With outstanding accomplishments in fibre science and wearable technology, Dr Shou has also received a number of international awards for innovation. These include consecutive TechConnect Global Innovation Awards in 2021 and 2022, as well as Silver Medal at the 2022 International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva. Additionally, he serves as an editorial board member for seven leading SCI journals.

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