Application of nanotechnology in textiles

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NANOTECHNOLOGY IS a cluster of rising technologies in which matter is engineered at the nanometer size to manufacture novel materials having valuable and exclusive characteristics. It is considered that nanotechnology is a key technology in current scientific world, which is not only going to influence technological developments but will also have economic, social and ecological implications in the near future. Like all other fields of applied science and technology, textile industry is also is getting revolutionized by great potentials of nanotechnology.

There are numerous ways in which the textile products can be modified with nanomaterials and obtain extraordinary properties. Nanomaterials, due to their extremely small size, exponentially large surface area and unique optical and electrical properties exhibit superior properties as compared to their bulk counterparts. Incorporation of nanomaterials into textile and fabric can alter their properties such as mechanical strength, wettability, thermal and electrical conductivity, water and oil repellency, flame resistance etc. For instance, silver nanoparticles which are known for their antimicrobial properties are applied to fabric, which help in preventing the growth of infection and odor causing bacteria. Similarly, drug encapsulated nanoparticles are adhered to the fabric for controlled release of the drugs; such fabrics will help in fast recovery of the wounds when used as dressings. Electrical conductance in textile products can be induced by deposition of a thin film of noble metal nanoparticles or organic conductive polymers in the form of nano-coatings.

Flame resistant fibers are produced by coating of intumescent nanomaterials on them which upon heating get fused and expanded insulating the fiber from flame. For generation of high quality durable textiles, mechanical strength of the synthetic fibers is enhanced by dispersing the carbon nanotubes in polymer matrix. Increased structural strength of the fabric is generated by keratin nano-coating on the textiles to prevent shrinking of cloth due to washing; keratin cross-linking with fiber restricts the rearrangement and compression of fiber.

Electroluminescent tagging of textiles by infrared absorption is possible through the incorporation of inorganic NPs doped with fluorescent rare-earth metals into synthetic fibers. Such fabrics will provide better personal safety to the road side workers and traffic police men at night in comparison to the fabric painted with reflecting pigments. Moisture management is process in which perspiration is transferred from inner side of the textile towards the outer side away from skin, titanium dioxide based nano-coatings are applied to textile for generation of hydrophilic character in which water moves from darker to brighter side of the cloth when exposed to light.

Titanium dioxide and other semiconductor nanoparticles are also applied to the textiles during finishing process for making UV protecting textiles by blocking transmission of the UV radiations. Fuzzy growth of polymeric nano-filaments on the textile surface through gas phase coating generates super-hydrophobic, stain resistance and self-cleaning characteristics (lotus effect) in fabrics due to low surface contact.

Embedding zinc oxide nanoparticles in textiles is also an efficient method for the dispersal of static charges which is useful for the prevention of damage to electrical components. Thermally insulated textiles having exceptionally high insulation characteristics and are manufactured by incorporating fiber with super lightweight silica aerogels. Conclusively, nanotechnology offers great opportunities to the textile industry to produce futuristic smart textiles having multiple added values in one product and it will be much more than just comfort of wear clothes and fashion.


Published in: Volume 06 Issue 25

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