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Friction, Shear, Drape, Warp, & Weft

 Jordan Caruso demonstrates how she utilizes the MARK-10 for her Undergraduate Research

The MARK-10 tests fabrics at low-load

University of Northern Iowa’s Textile & Apparel Program (TAPP) has a National Science Foundation funded Product Development and Material Analysis laboratory. Under the direction of Dr. Mitchell Strauss, Professor in the School of Applied Human Sciences, equipment in this laboratory is used by faculty and undergraduates to investigate the properties of fabrics and fibers.  The equipment in the lab is used to test swatches (fabric samples) to discover under what conditions they will fade, rip, pill, stain, burn, and wear.  Common words heard in the textile laboratory to describe the properties of fabric are friction, shear, drape, warp, and weft.   

Jordan Caruso, UNI TAPP major, tests for shear, drape, and other properties using a new and unique machine to the lab, the MARK-10.  UNI owns one of the first MARK-10 instruments on the market.  Jordan is piloting its calibration as part of her undergraduate research with Dr. Strauss.  The MARK-10 allows Jordan to gain a deeper understanding of how different fabrics respond to various stresses.  The data provided by the MARK-10 will help designers and researchers determine if a specific fabric will work for a particular application and how a garment and fabric will lay when being utilized or worn by a person. 

Jordan Caruso, TAPP major, demonstrates how to use the MARK-10The MARK-10 is a low-load testing machine.  This means it only needs a small sample of fabric in order to obtain measurements and the fabrics are not damaged in the testing process.  It is used to measure friction, shear, warp, weft, and bend of a swatch sample when exposed to stress.  Friction, the resistance of the fabric when it is dragged across a surface, can affect fabrics in different ways such as how they fall and move when worn.  Shear, the tensile strength or how much force is required to rip the fabric, is tested at a diagonal to the weave.  Warp and weft tests evaluate the tensile strength of the fabric in the horizontal and vertical directions.  The bend test is a simple test of how far a fabric can be pushed over an edge before it falls to a 45° angle.  Some fabrics bend right away while others do not.    Each test is completed in with 5 swatch samples, and the scores are averaged to ensure accuracy.  

These tests are also completed at different levels of humidity.  Fabrics, such as cotton, can get stronger with humidity while others, such as rayon, become weaker.  The tests for the fabrics are completed at 90% humidity and 0% humidity.  The room is at a constant temperature of 70° Fahrenheit (±2) and humidity of 62° (±2).  Fabrics to be tested at a 90% humidity are placed in a machine to increase the humidity, placed in a Ziploc bag or an air-tight plastic container, and stored until tested.  The 0% humidity test requires that fabrics be placed in an oven at 65° Fahrenheit for 4 hours, so that the fabric is at equilibrium and has time to dry.  It is then transported to the lab in a special container, to maintain the lack of moisture, until testing. 

Computer Generated Skirt ModelSewn SkirtThese measurements of how individual fabric types react are valuable to help fashion designers select the best fabric for a new design or pattern.  Jordan uses a program called Optitext to combine the fabric data with the garment pattern.  The pattern data will include pieces such as the front, back, sleeve, leg, pockets, etc.  A 3D model of a figure wearing the garment allows Jordan to test out different fabrics virtually.  One of Jordan's tasks is to calibrate the machine/program so that it will be easier to use and more valuable to designers in the future.  She tests the accuracy by making a sample garment to compare to the virtual one.  The goal is to have an accurate computer generated model identical to one in real life so that researchers, like Jordan, may imagine, or predict, how a fabric will look, act, and wear as a skirt, shirt, or some other garment or as a home good such as a curtain.

Using the Optitext to model how different fabrics respond differently to the same pattern will help designers streamline getting clothing to the stores by eliminating some steps.  Currently, fashion designers design a product, make a sample, and have a model try it on.  Much time is spent waiting for the sample to be made and shipped, typically from overseas.  If the garment does not look or wear as it was intended then there is a redesign, a new sample made, and tried on again.  This process continues until the garment is what the design intended.  Optitext, once calibrated, will provide a  designer with virtual garments.  Without the need for a sample, initial adjustments can be made and only one or possibly no samples will need to be sewn prior to production.  So a process that once took months could be completed  in a much less time.

MARK-10 Friction TestJordan’s work demonstrates that fabric can be very complex in its composition.  How often do we put on clothing and not even give the fabric, the yarn or even how the individual threads are twisted a single thought?  The textile industry depends on material science to select the right fabric for the right purpose. 

The tiny details that affect how a fabric is worn and acts are interesting to Jordan.  She is more interested in the fabric and testing of the fabrics than she is in the designing of apparel.  Her first semester in college was at a school in New York City.  She wanted to be a part of the apparel industry.  It was here that she realized that she preferred the textiles over design.  One of her professors, who was an expert in fabrics, enjoyed and made textiles fun.  He was one of the reasons she decided to pursue this area.  After one semester in NYC, Jordan returned to her home of Cedar Falls and began her education at UNI continuing to learn more and test fabrics under the direction of Dr. Strauss. 

Jordan will graduate in May of 2018.  One of her goals of her undergraduate research project, is to figure out how to properly calibrate the Optitiext program so that it can mimic fabrics accurately.  Knowing about these kinds of tests and the MARK-10 in particular, is a skill that Jordan hopes to continue to develop in her future career.


Ginger L'Heureux, UNI STEM Graduate Assistant
Posted: 03-07-18

Serving First

Amy Hartwig,Technology Management & Former Air National Guard

Even at a very young age, Amy Hartwig knew that she wanted to serve her country.  Her family has a history of being a part of the United States military.  Her father, both grandfathers, most of her uncles, and older brother have all served either in the Army, Navy, Air Force, or the Air National Guard.  It was in September of her senior year, when she was only 17, that Amy enlisted in the Air National Guard. Amy Hartwig, Air National Guard

For six years Amy was part of the 119th Fighter Wing out of Fargo, North Dakota.  Amy conducted base-wide training for Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Warfare defense.   All personnel on base were required to annually renew their training on how to respond to an attack.  She was in Emergency Management where she made plans for man-made and natural disasters.  If there was an emergency, she would have been one of the personnel advising and providing options to the On-Scene Commander at the response site.  As part of this unit, Amy could have assisted with disasters on base and the surrounding area or deployed to other locations.  Some members of Amy’s squadron were sent to assist with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans; helping with repairs and rebuilding.   

  After leaving the Air National Guard, Amy stayed home with her young family for a few years before enrolling in college in 2013.   First, she obtained an Associates of Science at Kirkwood College in Cedar Rapids.  Then, she decided to continue her education at University of Northern Iowa in the Department of Technology  majoring in Technology Management.  Amy would like to pursue a career in project management in the engineering field.  She enjoys managing projects and processes and has an interest in manufacturing.  Amy is now in her final semester at UNI with plans to graduate in May.

Hartwig Family in ColoradoOne of Amy’s favorite things about UNI is working with the professors.  The professors in the Industrial Technology Center (ITC), in particular, “have been great”, she said.  They have been supportive of Amy’s education and understanding that other commitments, such as work or family, may cause her to miss a day or two.  She has truly appreciated their flexibility and willingness to help students catch up.   One of her favorite courses has been Technology Training Strategies with Dr. Doug Hotek.  In the past, Amy has not been a huge fan of group work.  She was required to work as a part of a group in Dr. Hotek’s class.  She had a good time in her group and was able to successfully complete the assignment.  The group members all contributed fairly to their project of creating a training course for a task at a past or current job of one of the students.  Amy’s group created a training plan to teach new employees how to fill out orders, identify pizza ingredients, and count back change for a pizza business.  Other groups created plans for framing walls and changing oil in vehicles.  She encourages future ITC students to pay attention and listen to the advisors, teachers, and professors.  This is especially important if the class is a foundations course that will be built upon in future courses.  “They are very knowledgeable.  They want to help.  They want to see you succeed.”

Amy is very active as a mother to three children, ages 14, 13, and 10.  You may find her as the referee for high school and middle school volleyball, softball, and baseball.  Amy and her family also volunteer at the Eastern Iowa Special Olympics every year while her son competes as an athlete.  If you happen to see Amy sitting down at one of her children’s activities, don’t be surprised to find her with her knitting in her lap.  UNI STEM would like to congratulate Amy on her upcoming graduation and thank all service men and women attending UNI.  Thank you for your service and best wishes on your futures.


Ginger L'Heureux, UNI STEM Graduate Assistant
Posted: 02-22-18

Adding Up to Her Dream Job -- First Generation Series (4 of 4)

Zulema Argueta, Math Education Major

If you want to be a teacher, then the University of Northern Iowa is the best school.  This is what one of Zulema Argueta’s high school teachers told her when she started to consider becoming a math teacher.  She visited the UNI campus during her sophomore year of high school and her decision was made.  Zulema loved the campus, especially the size.  It is a big university, but not too big.  It has been is the perfect fit for her.

Born near Los Angeles, Zulema moved to Ottumwa, with her family when she was three years old.  Spanish is her first language.  She learned how to speak English from watching cartoons on the television.  Her parents worked a lot but always made time for their children’s educations making sure that they got good grades and attended all parent-teacher conferences.  Her father, in particular, put much importance on education and has encouraged Zulema to pursue her dream of becoming a teacher.

Zulema’s focus on math started when her Pre-Algebra teacher noticed that the subject matter came very easy to her.  She started the process of moving her to Algebra I.  She excelled in the class and eventually received an A+.  It was at this point that she discovered that she really loved math. 

In high school, Zulema joined the Teacher Education Association, which is a club for people who wanted to become teachers.  This club gave students opportunities to shadow teachers, get out of their own classrooms and become part of the community.  Zulema loved every part of this program and her dream of becoming a math teacher began.

Zulema’s experience at UNI has been amazing so far.  Zulema raves about how supportive her professors and the number of support services available to her on campus such as the tutoring services, LSAMP (minorities in STEM), and TRIO.  She has been involved in TRIO since she was a senior in high school.  It is the support group that helped her get her college applications filled out.

Outside of the classroom, Zulema is active in a number of organizations.  She is part of the Ethnic Student Promoters whose goal is to reach out to minority students to encourage them to go to college, by way of student panels and tours.  She assists with FASFA Fridays by helping students fill out financial-aid forms.  She also works at the Academic Learning Center.  In her free time, she is part of The Movement, which is a Hip Hop Dance Team where she gets to move, have fun, and meet many new people.

Zulema is looking forward to her field experience as a student teacher.  After graduation, she plans to go straight into teaching.  She really wants to start doing what she loves: helping students.  Her advice to students considering a STEM path is to do it.  Just go for it.  It will take time and dedication.  Continue to push forward as the rewards will be worth it.Zulema Argueta, Math Education

Ginger L'Heureux, UNI STEM Graduate Assistant
Posted: 02-15-18

Defending Networks -- First Generation Series (3 of 4)

UNI 2016 Cyber Defense Team

Cyber Defense.  Seems like something we only see in the movies or hear on the news.  Students at the University of Northern Iowa are honing their skills to combat real-life cyber attacks.  The UNI’s Cyber Defense Team came in 2nd place in the 2016 Argonne National Lab’s National Cyber Defense Competition near Chicago, Illinois.  Sheriff Jorkeh, a first generation college student, is a part of this successful team.

Sheriff is majoring Computer Science with an emphasis in Systems, which includes Networking and Systems Administration.  This is a unique program to UNI because it combines computer science and networking assistance.  It is hands on and gives students the opportunity to dive deeper into the fundamentals of computer systems.  Students who graduate with this degree can be network analysts or network engineers.

Originally from Liberia, Sheriff came to the United States to live in 2012.  He is the first member of his family to go to college.  He lives in Cedar Falls with his wife and two children, 4 and 2, while he attends UNI.

Sheriff started in the computer business when a training opportunity was presented to him after high school.  He completed training in computer service and repair and then started working in a friend’s business.  He also helped teach employees Microsoft Suite, Powerpoint, and Publisher.  Sheriff has been on the UNI campus since January of 2016 and so far his experience has been great.  He is currently the president of the Cedar Valley Linux User Group and a member of TRIO, Computer Club, and UNI’s Cyber Defense Team.  He also works at Western Home as a resident assistant.

As president of the Cedar Valley Linux User Group, Sheriff organizes meetings and looks for speakers or speaks himself on various Linux topics.  He assists in the organization of events on and off campus where the group sets up gaming on the Linux system just to have fun.  He would like to see the campus Linux group get more involved in the community and connect with Linux users off campus.

UNI 2016 Cyber Defense TeamUNI’s Cyber Defense Team’s purpose is to learn and practice responding to cyber-attacks.  During the competition at Argonne National Labs, the team was given a hypothetical situation of a simulated real-world cyber-attack scenario.  The team was given vulnerable system servers and challenged to patch them up and make them secure.  Then, during the day of the competition, professionals attack!  The team has to maintain their system servers while trying to keep or get the hackers out.  All of this has to be done without causing user problems.  It takes experience and skill to pose as a cyber attacker.  Dr. Paul Gray, a UNI professor as well as Sheriff’s advisor and mentor, is one of the professionals who has been an attacker for the competition.

With plans to graduate in December of 2018, Sheriff plans to make the most of his time at UNI and continue to enjoy his college experience.  He takes classes that build on previous classes, such as Data Structures.  He has taken classes such as Intermediate Computing using JAVA and Python programming languages as well as his favorite class to date, Networking.  After graduation, Sheriff  is off to the real world and with a degree in computer science.  His degree will allow him to work anywhere in any industry.


Ginger L'Heureux, UNI STEM Graduate Assistant
Posted: 02-08-18

Art Serving A Larger Purpose

Kimberly Wilderdyke, UNI Interior Design Student

Iowa Association of Energy Efficiency Scholarship Winner and UNI Interior Design Student Kimberly Wilderdyke, has plans to take her love of HGTV and art to serve a larger purpose.  Originally from Adel, Iowa, she has always really liked art.  She has been watching HGTV since she was about 7, because it interested her.  Watching HGTV started as a guilty pleasure, but has transformed into what she would like to do with her life — using her artistic talents to create impactful spaces for people to live, work, and be educated.  Interior Design is a form of art.  Kimberly, will bring Interior Design into various environments to create feelings of comfort, productivity, and inspiration.

Interior Design Student Field Trip

Making the decision to come to UNI was an easy one for Kimberly.  She said that the campus was the perfect size for her, had many opportunities, and that it “felt like home right away.”  As a sophomore, Kim feels that UNI’s Interior Design department is preparing the students for their futures.  Even as freshmen, students connect with vendors and design firms.  For example, a group of fellow students went to Minneapolis last spring to visit residential and commercial firms.  It is this type of field trip that really helps the students think about the work of interior designers before getting too far into the program.

There are two sides to interior design.  The technical side and the creative side.  Kimberly finds that working with these two sides and bringing them together is interesting and challenging.  Drafting has been one of the technical courses that Kimberly found to be extremely challenging, enjoyable, and rewarding.  To complete this course, Kimberly spent quite a bit of time in the library hand drafting and creating blueprints.  “Most people do not realize how much architecture goes into interior design,” she said.  The reward came at the end of the course when Kimberly was able to take a step back, look and be proud of her well done project.  One of her classes that focuses on the creative aspect of interior design is Design Foundations.  In this class, Kimberly developed her technical knowledge and started to experiment with textures and colors.

One fun mock project that Kimberly has been able to do is to complete space planning for the Burj Khalifa.  The class was given access to the blueprints for the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.  The building is unique, not only because of its height, but also because it is shaped like a flower and becomes narrower as you move upward.  Students created floorplans of the apartments.  The changing shape of the building, with no two floors are alike, makes the project like a fun jigsaw puzzle.

Kimberly came to UNI with a number of credits and was originally planning to graduate in three years.  However, she has since decided to stretch her education to four years so that she can focus on residential design in her junior year and commercial design in her senior year.  The additional time on campus will allow for her to obtain a minor and a Sustainability Certificate.  Kimberly wants to be an interior designer emphasizing in sustainability.  Sustainability Certificates are available for all students.  Requirements include taking 15 credits from a specific list of courses that span across many areas of study but all have a foundation in sustainability.

Excited about next year’s residential design focus, Kimberly is looking forward to the next couple of years on campus, in and out of the classroom.  She wants to continue to dig deeper into her design coursework and make more connections with professionals in the field.  She would like to have a head start on looking for a position so that one can be lined up prior to graduation.   Her internship, required by her major, will help meet these goals.

Kimberly was awarded one of two scholarships from the Iowa Association for Energy Effiiciency (IAEE).  The IAEE is a professional organization promoting the art and science of the efficient use of energy.  With rapidly changing technology, IAEE’s focus is to keep its members on the cutting edge.  To learn more go to

Ringing Bells for the Salvation Army

Kimberly’s desire to make an impact in the world is evident when she discussed her job on campus and involvement in student organizations.  She wants to get involved as much as she can.  Currently, she works at Hagemann Hall as a Desk Assistant.  She truly enjoys this position as it allows her to talk to people, and possibly help someone who may need comfort or support saying, “You never know what is going on in others’ lives, so it is always good to chat and hopefully brighten someone’s day.”

Three groups that have made a difference in Kimberly’s semester.  First, she attends SALT on Thursday nights on campus.  This is a church service for college students.  In conjunction with SALT, she participates in a small connect group.  One of the things her connect group did was ringing the bells for the Salvation Army in front of HyVee.  Her group went a little farther than just ringing the bells.  They sang songs, accompanied by her leader’s ukulele.  They tried to be as entertaining as possible.  The third thing is attending services at Candeo Church in Cedar Falls.  These three groups have helped Kimberly adjust and be supported in her education and life on UNI campus.

Kimberly radiates positivity when she talks about her major and her future career.  She hopes that her future will involve owning her own Interior Design business.  She looks forward to helping people create amazing, energy efficient and comfortable homes.  Kim encourages future students in STEM and Interior Design to be passionate about whatever they decide to do.  Anyone and everyone can make a positive impact in the world.   

Ginger L'Heureux, UNI STEM Graduate Assistant
Posted: 01-31-18


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