Nanotechnology and Its Applications in Textile Finishing

Last Updated on 26/06/2021

Application of Nanotechnology in Textile Finishing

Md. Ruhul Amin
Textile Engineering College, Noakhali

With the advent of nanotechnology, a new area has developed in the realm of textile finishing. Nanotechnology is opening new avenues in chemical finishing, resulting either in improved processes or in helping to achieve new functional properties, which were not possible with conventional finishes. Thus, the application of nanotechnology creates an expanded array of functional properties enabling textiles to be used in novel materials and products. Unlike in conventional finishing, the nanometric size of the coating will not affect negatively the hand and feel of the finished fabric. The low temperature sol–gel techniques, as well as the new generation of polymeric resins, are offering new possibilities in textile chemical finishing.

Nano is nothing but a prefix having a meaning of denoting dimensional measurements. In case of nanotechnology, the term is directly related to its functional parameters. In the nanotechnology, the material related to the technology is smallest in dimension. Here at least one of dimensions of the materials is in order of 1 to 100 nm. Here it should be represented that a nanometer (nm) is billionth of one meter i.e. 1nm=10-9 m. The human hair is about 100 times of it or a hydrogen atom is 10 times less of it. The technological process related to the nano scaled materials can be referred as the nanotechnology.

The research of nanotechnology has been continuing for decades and it is considered as one of the promising technology of 21st century. The research and development of nanotechnology have been carried out for understanding about it and creating developed materials, devices and system that diffuses new properties. The research of nanotechnology is widely spread out due to the dramatically properties of the materials. The properties of the atoms or bulk materials of any substance are dramatically changed when the substance is converted into nano particles. Here physical, chemical and biological properties of the materials are changed when converted into nanoparticles than the bulk materials.

As for example: ceramics have a property of brittleness but if the grain size of the material is converted into nano-particles then the particles as well as the materials will be deformable. Even thin films and fiber can be produced from that. This is also an important thing that the color of any material on its particle size rather than its intrinsic properties. Gold bears golden color that becomes red when converts into nano- particles! In this article nano-particles are represented for its outstanding performances in textile finishing. The bearing properties of chemical substances (nano-particles) can be encapsulated to the textile materials (yarn, fabric etc.). Hence the textile materials will carry the properties of the particles.

Example of some magic nano-particles:
There are numerous numbers of nano-particles. Here just some nano-particles are presented.

  1. Clay nano particles.
  2. ZnO nano-particles.
  3. TiO2 nano-particles.
  4. MgO nano-particles.
  5. Silver nano-particles.
  6. Fluorocarbon nano-particles.
  7. Antimony pent oxide nano-particles.
  8. Tourmaline nano-particles.

Application Area of Nanotechnology in Textile Finishing:

  1. The recent application of nanotechnology in textile finishing are high performance sky wax, breathable water proof sky jacket, wrinkle resistant, stain repellent garments, LED digital camera etc.
  2. The functional water repellent, protection UV, absorption property, color fastness, abrasion safety, flame retardency, functional hygiene, anti-microbial functional protection, self-cleaning etc.
  3. Nano whiskers that make the fabric stained and water resistant. It also makes the fabric breathable rather than resin finishes.
  4. The more-over whiskers give water and oil repellency, superior durability, breathable fabric, remains soft and natural wrinkle resistance.
  5. The nano net completely covers the core fibers and inject linen property in synthetic fibers I,e the absorbency of linen in polyester fibers. It alters the synthetic fibers to give a feel of cotton and linen that absorbs the body moisture and gives cooling effect.
  6. “Wrap nano sheet” wraps the fibers completely to cover it and the property. It makes fabric strong and durable. It improves the color fastness, crease retention and static resistance.
  7. Clay nano-particles are composed of various hydrous allumino-silicates that possess various properties like chemical, heat, electrical resistance that improve flame retardency and anti-corrosiveness of the fabric.
  8. ZnO nano particles can impart UV shielding in fabrics that can also reduce static electricity of nylon fabric.
  9. TiO2 and MgO have photo catalytic activity. These particles are able to break the toxic, harmful chemicals and biological agents. Hence impart self-sterilizing functions to the fibers.
  10. Silver nano-particles posses anti microbial and anti mould property. The particles are used to impart anti odor and ultra-fresh finishes to the undergarments and socks.

The Mysterious Logics Behind the Finishing:

Easy care hydrophobic nano finish:
The hydrophobic nature of any surface can be gained through two steps-

  • Creation rough surface.
  • Modification of the surface by the substance having low surface energy.

Fluorocarbon is hugely used for the finish. This contains perfluoroalkyl residue in which all the hydrogen atoms are replaced by fluorine compounds. The chemical can reduce surface tension because of having very high thermal stability and low reactivity. The mentionable surface tension of the fluorocarbon finishes depends on its chain length. The minimum chain length can be represented as n=9.

Water and Beverage repellent finishing:
By the nano-finishing, a coated layer is produced on the fabric surface. Which does not allow the water or beverage to be entered when a fabric is finished with the substances having the sizes of 100 nm the fabric becomes compressed that makes the cloth stain and dirt resistant.

water repellent finish
Fig: Water repellent finish (Photo: Shutterstock)

Antimicrobial finish:
It is an old concept that “silver” molecules have a power to resist bacteria and microorganism. Hence the food, water, any other substance have great weakness to bacteria or microorganism were kept in the utensils of silver metal. This antibacterial property of silver particles has been proved scientifically. This finishing procedure is carried out by the encapsulation of the silver compounds i.e. the nano particles of silver are encapsulated in the fiber reactive polymer.

2AgC₆H₈O₆——–→2AgO + C₆H₆O₆ +2H⁺

Prof. Yang prepared a suitable way for that. He prepared a capsule having two parts, one is inner core and other is outer layer. Two parts have two functions. He prepared it by some steps.

  • Encapsulation of an emulsified solution of perfume with melanin pre-condensate.
  • The silver nano particles are dispersed in water soluble styrene maleic anhydride polymer solution. Here a solution will be prepared.
  • The micro capsules, prepared at the step “a” are treated with the solution of “b”.

Hence the microcapsule having functions both of silver and melanin. Then the yarn or fabrics are treated with the microcapsules.

Photo catalytic self-cleaning:
The combination of powerful oxidizing agents and UV lights in some cases near UV light has a property of removing of xenobitics and organic pollutants from the textile products.

The TiO₂ is a recognized catalytic compound. it shows it`s catalytic property by the absorption of a photon and jumped to the conduction band from the valance band. That is able to remove the organic pollutants and xenobiotics from the textile materials. Hence by treating the fabric or yarn by the particles, the fabric or yarn can be brought into photo catalytic self-cleaning property. There is an absorbing capacity of UV rays in TiO₂ particles so the fabric of yarn also can be protected from UV rays for 20 washes.

Anti-pollen finishing:
The polymers having antistatic and electro conductive compositions are used for the finishing e.g. Fluor alkyl acryl ate polymers. The nano particles of 30 nm (slightly more or less) are applied on the surface of the yarn hence the surface becomes smooth and antistatic that does not allow the pollen or dust to come close.

Flame retardant finishing:
The antimony pent oxide nano particles along with Halogenated flame-retardants are used for the flame retardant finishing. The antimony has a characteristic of flame retardency. Hence the presence of antimony particles along with halogenated flame retardant in the fabric increases a flame retardant property of the fabric.

flame retardant finish
Fig: Flame retardant finish

Odor fights finishing:
Tourmaline a natural substance is used for the odor fighting finishing. The tourmaline comes contact with oxygen, carbon dioxide and water molecules that allows an electrolytic dissociation that creates negative ions. The negative ions create a magnetic field that resists the bacteria so the fabric stays odor free. Also there we see another occurrence of infrared consumption that destroys bacteria to make the fabric odor free.

UV protection finishing:
Clay nano particles (e.g. clay nano particles of montmoriblonite) or nano flakes are used for the purpose. These types of substances contain hydrogen aluminosilicates, having difference in the chemical composition and crystal structures. The clay nano particles have a property of locking UV light. It also has electrical, chemical and heat resistance. Hence the UV rays can be removed by the fabric having a finish of clay nano particles.

You may also like: UV Protection for Summer Wear Using Green Technique

The overall discussion directs us the point that the nano finishing can fulfill our lots of demands those types of finishing are easy and less time consuming. The chemical substances required for the purposes are also available. The functional aspects of the nano finished fabrics, yarns, and the logics behind that have been described in above. So there is no doubt that there is waiting a good prospect of application of nanotechnology in textile finishing if we become initiative. Already in many countries the Nano finishing process has been applied due to its adventitious functional perspectives and they have got pleasant form it. This innovation can alter our traditional ties of finishing. I think, application of nanotechnology in textile finishing has good prospects in the near future.


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