NC State University Webinar Series: Principles of Air Filtration Materials and Design

May 26 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

12 – 1pm CT

Textile manufacturers have responded to the COVID-19 crisis in unprecedented ways, rapidly retooling production lines to manufacture materials and products for PPE. Many of these companies face challenges from understanding performance requirements and new materials, to navigating a challenging maze of testing requirements and use guidelines. To help our industry address these challenges, NC State’s Wilson College of Textiles has partnered with IFAI, with sponsorship from IPC, SEAMS and SPESA, to create a series of webinars on PPE production and design.

In the third webinar of our weekly series, you’ll learn how materials are engineered to construct effective filter media. We’ll cover typical materials and constructions used in a variety of face masks and respirators.


Stephen Sharp, Director of Engineering and Operations, Sanctuary Systems

Stephen Sharp has spent more than 27 years developing man-made fibers for nonwovens and other applications. He began his career with Hills, Inc., in Melbourne, FL, developing new fibers on their pilot line and assembling and starting new melt spinning machines. Following his work with Hills, Inc., he moved to Fiberweb in Simpsonville, SC, where he developed new processes and products for nonwovens on meltspinning and carding technologies. In 2001, he joined the NC State University Nonwovens Institute where he served as Pilot Facilities manager and engineering director. There, Steve continued to develop new processes and products in the fiber and nonwoven industry. During his tenure there, Steve oversaw the expansion of capabilities to include design, upfit and commissioning a 1m wide Reicofil meltblown pilot line in 2011 and a 1m wide spunbond and hydroentangling facility in 2017. In 2017, Steve joined Sanctuary Systems, establishing manufacturing technologies and facilities to produce unique fiber technologies. Steve is an inventor on six patents and holds a BS in business management from the University of Mount Olive and a MS in textile engineering from NC State University.


Dr. Karen Leonas, Professor of Textile Sciences, Department of Textile and Apparel, Technology Management, NCSU

Dr. Karen K. Leonas, Professor of Textile Sciences, in the Department of Textile and Apparel, Technology and Management, is recognized for her work in protective apparel against small particle and liquid transmission for agricultural and healthcare workers. She has numerous publications in the areas of antimicrobial and repellent finishes, surface chemistry, barrier fabric characteristics, and the transmission mechanism of liquids and microorganisms through materials. Dr. Leonas received her BS in Textile Chemistry from NC State, her MS in Clothing and Textiles from University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and her PhD in Textile Chemistry/Textile Physics with and emphasis in Polymer Engineering.

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May 26 12:00 pm

May 26 1:00 pm

Janelle Buerkley