Sending your favorite suit to the dry cleaners could one day become an infrequent practice. Researchers at Clemson University are developing a highly water-repellant coating made of silver nanoparticles that they say can be used to produce suits and other clothing items that offer superior resistance to dirt as well as water and require much less cleaning than conventional fabrics.
The patented coating — a polymer film (polyglycidyl methacrylate) mixed with silver nanoparticles — can be permanently integrated into any common fabric, including silk, polyester and cotton, the researchers say. In the long run, it can save time and money by reducing expensive dry cleaning bills. It is also environmentally friendly, they add.
The researchers described their work on the so-called “self-cleaning” coating last week during the 56th Southeast Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society, held in Research Triangle Park, N.C. “The coating doesn’t actually clean itself, but it does resist dirt much better than other fabric treatments,” explains research team member Phil Brown, Ph.D., a textile chemist with Clemson University in Clemson, S.C. “The concept is based on the lotus plant, whose leaves are well-known for their ability to ‘self-clean’ by repelling water and dirt. Likewise, when water is exposed to the treated fabric, the dirt will be carried away more easily. You will still need some water to rinse away dirt and stains, but cleaning will be quicker and less frequent.”
Michael Bernstein | EurekAlert!
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