Professor - Materials Science and Engineering
Director – UT Nonwovens Research Laboratory
The University of Tennessee
After earning his MS and PhD from Georgia Tech in textile and polymer engineering, Dr. Bhat joined the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) in August 1990, where his research covers nonwovens - melt blown, spunbonded and biodegradable, plastics recycling, nanotechnology, sustainable materials, and high performance fibers. As the director of UTNRL he has focused on production of nanofibers from thermoplastic polymers by meltblowing. Dr. Bhat has published more than 200 research papers and has three US Patents. He was inducted as an Outstanding Young Engineering Alumni by Georgia Tech (1996); received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Fiber Society (1999); elected as a Fellow of the Textile Institute (2005), received the TechniTex India Research Achievement Award (2008) and TAPPI NET division Technical Achievement Award (2014). He has served as the president of the Fiber Society and is also an active member of INDA, TAPPI and the Textile Institute.
Abstract: Techniques such as centrifugal spinning, electrospinning and bicomponent spinning have been studied extensively for the production of nanofibers with limited commercial success. Melt blowing is a technology that has been commercially used for the past three decades to produce microfibers. Recently, nonwovens research laboratory at the University of Tennessee in collaboration with many companies has been leading the research on meltblown nanofiber nonwovens from various thermoplastic polymers. Not only that the nanofiber nonwovens are produced without the use of any solvent, but also the production rates are very high with a good commercialization potential. Findings from this ongoing research with respect to structure and properties of meltblown nanofibers from various polymers produced, and the issues and challenges for commercial adaptation of this technology will be discussed.