Building a Better Storage System
- a look at how we went about creating our own storage system, the materials used, and the method of construction.
First things first - the general concept
Although the detailed technical aspects of a new design are very important, the first thing to look at is - what type of product should it be? If you're designing a new car, it's no use starting with the tread patterns of the tires. First you need to decide on the general concept. Sedan? Sports car? Convertible? 2 or 4-door? What function are you trying to fulfill?
Since easy access and a preference for not having to fold the protected garment are important practical considerations, as well as easy storage in a normal household, we concluded that a simple bag arrangement would be the starting point of our design. It should be large enough to hold a garment unfolded - even a very full wedding gown. It should be very light in weight so as to drape very lightly over the garment. It is very important that the bag should breathe but it must also protect its contents from harmful airborne particles. So it would need to be made of a breathing material with a very tight weave. To avoid any possibility of damage from insects, the bag should be constructed of a material that is of no interest to bugs as food.
The material we chose is a strong, very light weight fabric with an unusually compact, unspun weave. The weave is so tight (9000 fibers to the inch - see photo), it can block particles down to just a few microns (millionths of a metre). This is smaller than most bacteria! (In fact this type of fabric is used to filter the air in hospital operating rooms.) It is a polyamide - essentially a form of nylon - so bugs won't eat it. To block as much light as possible, we chose a dark color. The fabric is technically "water vapor permeable." This means moisture can pass through in the form of individual water molecules (i.e. water vapor) allowing the fabric to breathe, while running water is blocked due to surface tension.
We chose a TeflonTM-coated version of the fabric. This has three advantages:
To ensure easy and immediate access, we put a zipper in the bag. However, using a conventional zipper would negate the point of all the filtration from the fabric. It would be like having a leaky sieve in the bag. The teeth would also be a hazard to the gown when inserting, removing or closing the bag.
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