Committed to innovation and fiber research:
February 23, 2022 | Wilson College Communications
By Kamilah Heslop
It’s almost as if Mohamad Midani ’12, ’16 was born to be in the textile industry. At least that’s what his mother always says. Since the 1960s, his family has run a thriving textile business in Cairo, Egypt, and Midani considered it his calling.
“I grew up around the textile machinery and was amazed with how the fibers are transformed into textile goods,” he says. “Whenever I would go shopping, I’d read the fiber composition in the garment labels and observe the structure of different items.”
In 2010, Midani’s passion led him to NC State to study at the only college in the United States devoted entirely to textiles.
“I was drawn to the Wilson College because of its world-class faculty and focus on innovation and research excellence,” Midani shares. “Besides having access to endless career and personal development opportunities.”
After graduating in 2012 with a master’s degree in textile and apparel, technology and management and in 2016 with a doctorate in fiber and polymer science, Midani returned to Egypt to serve as an assistant professor of materials engineering at the German University in Cairo.
Three years later, he teamed up with fellow NC State textile graduates, Ahmed Hassanin ’11 and Tamer Hamouda ’12, to merge their passion for innovative textiles and composite solutions into an international consulting force: inTEXive. Midani serves as the managing partner of the multidisciplinary firm.
“We started offering textile-related professional education programs, which provided industry professionals with the technical knowledge needed to upgrade the local textile sector,” he says.
Midani’s firm also gives tailored consultation support to textile companies and assists them with diversifying their product portfolios. One of his firm’s most successful projects was the launch of the Giza-Protect yarn, an inherently flame-retardant Egyptian cotton yarn blend developed in partnership with Egypt’s largest producer and exporter of fine cotton yarns.
Mohamad Midani ’12,’16 spent time with Dean David Hinks during a reception in 2016 for Wilson College graduates.
In 2020, Midani’s connection to NC State was reignited when he was named an adjunct assistant professor in the Wilson College of Textiles. This appointment, which was spearheaded by his former advisor and mentor Professor Abdel-Fattah Seyam, allowed Midani to share his expertise on natural fibers and their composites by collaborating in research projects and publications as well as supervising graduate students. Midani’s passion for natural fibers led to his latest endeavor — which has a direct connection to his country of origin and surrounding areas.
He explained that in the Middle East and Northern Africa, the pruning of date palm trees typically generates an overflow of waste. That’s where his invention, PalmFil, comes in. This innovative solution converts that agricultural residue into natural textile fibers and reinforcements that can be used in car door panels, floor coverings, paper currency and even surf boards.
Honored for his lifelong passion and innovative accomplishments
On Feb. 9, Midani was named an esteemed recipient of the Wilson College of Textiles’ 2022 Distinguished Young Alumni Award.
Established in 2021 by the Dean’s Young Alumni Leadership Council (DYALC), the Distinguished Young Alumni Award program recognizes graduates under the age of 40 who have made significant contributions to the textile industry and their communities. The DYALC works to promote the Wilson College of Textiles and the college’s fundraising arm, the North Carolina Textile Foundation, along with fostering continued engagement among young alumni.
Award winners are selected based on their professional achievements, alignment with the college’s core values, service to the industry, community involvement and entrepreneurship.
“Mohamad’s innovative and collaborative research on fibers from date palms promotes sustainability and will improve the lives of so many,” says Professor Seyam, who serves as the head of the Department of Textile and Apparel, Technology and Management.
“As an excellent citizen of the world, Mohamad is very deserving of this honor.”
After learning he had been named a Distinguished Young Alumni Award recipient, Midani shared his own exciting news: a United Kingdom-based holdings company, Scaleup Innovations Holdings, will be partnering with his firm to scale up his PalmFil technology, and they will begin building their pilot plant this summer.
After his Ph.D. defense, Mohamad Midani ’12,’16 was pictured with his advisory committee, from left to right: Associate Professor Kavita Mathur, Professor Emeritus William Oxenham, Department Head Abdel-Fattah Seyam, Professor Mohamed Bourham and Associate Professor Mark Pankow.