ARS Cotton Research Earns ACS Landmark
Status By Erin
May 14 2004
NEW ORLEANS, La., May 14A
U.S. Department of Agriculture research
center here was named a "National Historic Chemical Landmark" today by the
American Chemical Society (ACS) for research
that led to development of durable-press and flame-resistant cotton fabric.
Over several decades, chemists and other researchers at USDA's
Southern Regional Research Center (SRRC)
developed the fabrics as part of an overall strategy to improve cotton fabric
quality. The SRRC is part of the Agricultural Research Service, USDA's chief
in-house scientific research agency.
In a ceremony this morning, SRRC Director John Patrick Jordan
received a commemorative bronze plaque from William F. Carroll, Jr., ACS
"SRRC's flame-retardant cotton fabrics were first used by the
military to give U.S. servicemen and women the best protective apparel
possible," said Joseph Jen, USDA Under Secretary for
Research, Education and
Economics. "These fabrics have also been used by the
National Aeronautics and Space
Administration in early space flights, as well as by fire departments
across the country."
As part of their research to develop better cotton fabrics for
consumers, SRRC researchers made the first "wash-and-wear" cotton clothing.
They first created garments that stayed smooth after washing and drying. They
then developed durable press, which brought the convenience of permanent
creases to cotton garments.
Eventually the researchers developed a 100-percent-cotton
material that could boast wrinkle resistance as well as cotton's comfort and
breathability. Since 1965, consumers have been able to buy 100-percent-cotton
shirts that retain the softness of cotton but look freshly pressed, even after
The decision to confer the American Chemical Society's
"landmark" status on SRRC was made by an international committee of chemists,
chemical engineers and others.