EASTMAN GIVES CLEMSON UNIVERSITY
$38 MILLION FIBER TECHNOLOGY
Eastman Chemical Company (NYSE:EMN) announced today that it has given
Clemson University's School of Textiles, Fiber and Polymer Science a unique
fiber technology worth an estimated $38 million in intellectual property
and patent rights. It is the largest gift in the University's history.
Eastman's donation includes more than 100 U.S. and worldwide patents and
intellectual properties related to capillary surface material (CSM)
technology - a major breakthrough in the physics of fluid transport.
Eastman is also giving Clemson equipment to establish a small manufacturing
lab to test and demonstrate products.
The innovative science behind the technology has the potential to make
everything from oil-spill soakers to diapers more absorbent than anything
currently on the market.
CSM fibers are unique because their surfaces are engineered to contain deep
channels. By comparison, most other fibers - both man-made and natural -
have essentially smooth surfaces. It's those deep channels that give the
material its phenomenal absorbency.
Additional end products could include absorbent materials for use in
blood-filtration systems needed in surgical operating rooms, surgical
dressings, footwear and apparel, and personal health-care products.
Clemson's Bhuvenesh Goswami, Alumni Distinguished Professor and
internationally recognized textiles-and-fiber researcher, predicted the
technology will revolutionize the use of textile materials in agricultural,
home care, sports, military and other industrial uses.
"Eastman's extraordinary gift brings us one step closer to our goal of
being recognized as one of the nation's top 20 public universities," said
University President James F. Barker. "Clemson will benefit not only
because of the revenue potential, but also because our faculty and students
will have access to this technology for their own research. Ultimately,
consumers will benefit as the technology moves from Eastman's lab through
our labs to the marketplace."
"Once we decided this technology was not strategic to our current long-term
business plans, we wanted to make it available for further research and
eventual commercialization," said Wiley Bourne, vice chairman and executive
vice president of the international chemical company. "Clemson University
has an outstanding track record of doing just that, providing value to
society as well as financial value once technology is commercialized."
Donating technology that is not consistent with the company's strategy, but
that can be further developed and successfully commercialized and marketed,
creates value for the donor company's bottom line, Bourne said. "It creates
much more value for everyone to license or donate technology that we're not
going to use, rather than allow it to sit on a shelf and gradually lose its
value to newer technology."
Clemson is a recognized leader in engineered-fiber research through its
School of Textiles, Fiber and Polymer Science. The school is a participant
in the Clemson-based Center for Advanced Engineering Fibers and Films, one
of the nation's elite National Science Foundation Engineering Research
Centers. Clemson is also a partner in the National Textile Center, a
federally-funded, six-university consortium specializing in innovative
fiber and textile research.
"The Eastman technology will play a significant role in solidifying our
stature as one of the nation's top universities conducting research in
high-tech fibers," said school director Richard V. Gregory. "Not only will
our students have access to this research, but they'll have access to
Eastman researchers who'll serve as adjunct faculty, giving them critical
real-world and research experience."
The technology will become part of the curriculum at both undergraduate and
graduate levels, ultimately becoming the foundation of post-graduate
research for years to come.
Patricia Schempp, a 25-year-old Master's student from Buffalo, N.Y., said
the new technology could significantly impact her current research area of
filtration, which runs the gamut from water purifiers used on the home
faucet to massive air filters needed in industrial processes.
"No other graduate students in the country have access to this technology
at this depth. This is an incredible opportunity, which can be found only
here at Clemson," said Schempp.
Clemson professors Goswami and Michael Ellison will head research efforts,
which could initially span textiles-polymer science, bioengineering,
environmental engineering and civil engineering.
But students aren't the only ones to benefit.
"This fiber research will not only impact the education of future engineers
and scientists, but could inaugurate a new chapter in the industrial growth
of South Carolina," said Thomas M. Keinath, dean of the College of
Engineering and Science. "Universities have always generated intellectual
capital, but we now know they can also generate economic capital by
attracting industries to the state."
Revenues generated from marketing this technology will also allow Clemson
to significantly expand and strengthen its research and educational
initiatives, according to university Chief Research Officer Y.T. Shah,
bringing the University that much closer to achieving its goal of earning
$100 million in research funding annually.
The technology will be marketed by the Clemson University Research
Foundation. Clemson is nationally recognized for excelling in the
commercialization of intellectual property, ranking in the nation's top 25
Eastman manufactures and markets chemicals, fibers and plastics.
Headquartered in Kingsport, Tenn., it has approximately 15,000 employees in
30 countries and had 1998 sales of $4.48 billion.
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Elaine T. Hunt, Director email@example.com
Laboratory to Advance Industrial Prototyping
Clemson University 206 Fluor Daniel Bldg.
Clemson, SC 29643-0925
864-656-0321 (voice) 864-656-4435 (fax)
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