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Posted: February 28, 2008
Nanotechnology a succor to the hard pressed textile industry
(Nanowerk News) Nanotechnology helps in increasing performance and durability much beyond normal textiles by means of creating, altering and improving textiles at the molecular level.
The chemical formulation and application technology, which can be adopted with ease by existing textile mills, changes the fabric itself on a molecular level, embedding it with tiny, floppy, hair like fiberís that themselves are attached to a common spine.
Treatments on the nano-scale can translate to exciting attributes like water and oil repellency, fragrance release, anti-bacterial properties, anti-static properties, stain resistance etc.
Plasma technology is used to modify the top nanometer layers of textiles, allowing them to be made antibacterial, fungicidal and water repellent. Other applications also include heat resistant and mechanically resilient work wear, ballistic protection, sensors and camouflage.
Nanotechnology has been applied to produce an anti-static membrane for protective clothing against bad weather and electrostatic discharges. Nanoparticles have been used to provide the controlled release of fragrances, biocides and antifungal on textiles.
Fibres have been modified on the basis of nano container microcapsules that prevent bacterial growth by releasing antimicrobiotics. The same technology has been used to absorb odours.
Polyester yarn with 30 times the ability to absorb moisture has also been developed. The yarn is used mainly for undergarments with the layers having a total thickness of fifty nanometers.
A fabric containing bundles of ultra fine nanometre nylon threads that allow superior moisture absorption properties has also been developed.
Carbon nanotube composite fibres with a toughness in the order of seventeen times that of Kevlar, has also been developed with varied applications like bullet-proof vests and energy storage devices contained within a textile fabric that could be used to power an electronic device.
The textile industry is seen more as a traditional industry. Competition to the stronghold traditional production centers of Europe & America is forcing companies to veer from the traditional and is forcing the industry to restructure and modernize. Nano technology according to experts could be the way out for these countries.
The potential benefits of nanotechnology are so compelling that over thirty countries are initiating national research and development initiatives. Nanotechnology is a means of adding value to a product and maybe a practical instrument in garnering additional returns for a textile industry pushed in to the corner.
The need of the hour is for textile industries, associations & textile research institutes in particular to contribute more to research in nano-textiles and harness the potential provided by it.