Dr Sohel Rana took up his role as Lecturer in Technical Textiles at the University of Huddersfield in 2018. With experience in his native India as well as Portugal and West Yorkshire, Sohel has been developing his research in some of the world’s best-known textile manufacturing regions for over a decade.
After completing his PhD on Fibre science and Technology at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT, Delhi), Sohel worked across a wide range of projects at the University of Minho in Portugal, collaborating with industry partners to deliver innovation with real commercial impact.
Since joining the University of Huddersfield he has built on this combination of research and manufacturing expertise as part of the Technical Textiles Research Centre, founded last year and led by Prof. Parikshit Goswami.
He will also share this experience with the next generation of textile scientists and product developers as part of the teaching team for the new MSc Product Innovation with Textiles course launching next term.
“I want to bridge the gap between research and industry – finding new solutions and making them useable and commercial,” Sohel says.
“It’s also about using technical knowledge to support creative ideas. For example, if you want a knitted fabric that can expand in all directions when it’s stretched – an auxetic structure – or to develop a textile that can change shape, an understanding of advanced textile structures could help make that a reality.”
Sohel’s wide-ranging research includes nanofunctionalisation of textiles – giving fibres and fabrics different properties, such as making them conductive, anti-microbial or flame-retardant – and advanced textile structures, which could relate to woven, knitted or braided fabrics. He is also working on textile composite materials, with a focus on finding new uses for biological materials such as cellulose and wool.
“I am personally motivated to work more with natural materials wherever possible,” Sohel adds. “Bio-composites are more sustainable and I want to help maximise the value of biological waste.”
Future Fashion Factory brings together the technical aspects of textile research with the creative potential of the fashion industry. Among Sohel’s current projects, he is working with Conductive Transfers Ltd. to develop 3D-zoned heaters that can be transferred onto garments – an innovation funded in our second funding call that will lead into the next generation of comfortable, effective wearables.
Sohel is keen to hear from businesses who could benefit from his expertise, from using sustainable and natural waste materials to speciality fibres, high-tech applications such as sensing and harvesting energy from textiles, and adding new functional properties to fabrics. If you have an idea, get in touch with him at email@example.com.