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Research Assessment #8

Materials Research

Date: 12/9/20

Subject: Materials Research

MLA/APA citation:   

Haddad, Leslie. “A Beginner's Guide: What Is Antimicrobial Fabric?” Herculite, 16 Feb. 2017,


IvyandPearlBoutique. “Why Are Fabrics Sometimes Blended? The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Various Common

        Fabric Blends.” Ivy and Pearl Online Boutique, 10 July 2019,


Tessier, D. “Surface Modifications of Biotextiles for Medical Applications.” Biotextiles as Medical Implants, Woodhead

        Publishing, 2013, pp. 137–156. 

V, James. “What Is Military Fabric Called? (What Are Uniforms Made of).”, 31 July 2020,


        A major part, not only of my original work, but also my overall topic study, is chemical engineering with a focus on material synthesis. This relates to my original work as I have researched numerous fabrics and materials that will help me accomplish my goal of creating a saddle pad that reduces the buildup of sweat and, thus, bacterial and fungal growth. While researching possible fabric for my product, I came across an interesting piece of information that emphasized the need for blended fabrics (IvyandPearlBoutique). This article emphasized how on their own, different fabrics/ materials such as cotton, polyester, or nylon have good qualities but also several drawbacks such as issues with absorption, breathability, and longevity (IvyandPearlBoutique). When these fabrics are combined together the good qualities of both fabrics combine together creating a kind of “super fabric” (IvyandPearlBoutique). This idea that different fabrics could be combined together to create a blend is exactly what I am looking for in my original work. I have decided that I need the breathability of cotton with the durability and antimicrobial properties of nylon which can be found in common nylon cotton blends. 

        In addition to looking for an overview of fabric characteristics, I was also looking for some ideas as to what fabrics, in what blend, would be a good starting place for my original work. When speaking with a professional about my original work, the professional suggested that I look into military fabrics considering that a military uniform would need to be durable, able to absorb sweat, and cut down on bacterial and fungal growth in order to keep the soldiers healthy. I was incredibly thankful for this advice and decided that researching this particular piece of information would give me valuable insight into the kind of material I was looking for. When researching common military uniforms I came across several instances where a fabric blend called cotton nylon was used for military uniforms especially in recent years (V). The benefits of this fabric included mobility, breathability, and absorption (V). The article mentions a difficulty to apply dyes that was not particularly relevant to my product (V). I believe that this would be the best material for me to use for my original work as it meets the specifications that I have laid out for this project and allows me to accomplish my goal. Originally, this is not a route that I would have thought taking in my search for the optimal material but this article and overall research most definitely led me to my primary material for saddle pad which will focus on a nylon cotton blend. 

        My design for this saddle pad also has an emphasis on antimicrobial properties which I think will be incorporated into the fabric, but before doing this research I was unsure how I was going to make this happen. Antimicrobial fabric includes a pathogen fighting layer that protects that fabric's surface preventing bacteria and other microorganisms from attaching to the fabric (Haddad). The only problem with these antimicrobial fabrics is that they are typically polyester or some form of a polyester blend (Haddad). From my previous research I have determined that polyester does not provide the kind of absorption, breathability, and durability that I am looking for in my saddle pad, therefore, making typical antimicrobial fabrics not an option (Haddad, IvyandPearlBoutique). I began to think that this is why most saddle pads in the equestrian community are not made out of antimicrobial materials. At this point I started to wonder if there was another way that I could accomplish this goal of controlling bacterial and fungal buildup while still maintaining the use of fabric with a cotton nylon blend that I had previously determined essential to my design. I found my answer in a new medical technology that combines nanoparticles into existing textiles that create a better defense against microorganisms than typical antimicrobial fabrics (Tessier). Many antimicrobial fabrics can leach when combined with water or sweat, this newer technology lasts much longer and consists of nanoparticles of silver embedded in a thin, interface, like layer, to make antimicrobial sheets (Tessier). This form of antimicrobial fabric seems to prove much more effective and can be more easily incorporated into my design. At this point I believe that using these silver embedded antimicrobial sheets in between the panels of the fabric in my saddle pad will allow for the reduction of bacteria and fungal buildup that can lead to health issues with the horse. 

        Overall, this research has given me the answers that I need in order to begin making my product of a saddle pad. I learned so much about the different fabrics that can be used and the different purposes that each unique blend has which has allowed me to decide on the best fabric for my saddle pad. I am definitely looking forward to obtaining these materials and beginning work on actually constructing my product. It will be interesting to see how all of these different materials come together and work together to accomplish my goal.

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