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New protective treatment for light-coloured furnishing fabrics

Nanosol coating protects against colour transfer from darker textiles
Furniture with light-coloured upholstery is very fashionable just now, but it gives rise to numerous complaints to retailers and manufacturers on account of discoloration caused by other textiles.

Traditional stain-repellent treatments, usually based on fluorocarbon resins, are not the answer here: while they may offer effective protection from standard water- or oil-based stains such as food and drink, they cannot prevent colour transfer caused by (excess) dye in clothing or other domestic textiles.

That is why, at the Hohenstein Clothing Physiology Institute (BPI), in partnership with the German Textile Research Centre North-West, and as part of a research project (IGF no. 15151 N), they have been looking for ways of preventing light-coloured furnishing fabrics from becoming discoloured by textiles where the colourfastness is poor when rubbed. The scientists tested to what extent an anti-adhesive, quasi-ceramic, nanosol-based coating could prevent the discoloration or at least make it easier to remove with normal cleaning methods.

As part of the project, all kinds of different nanosols were synthesised and applied to a range of furnishing fabrics. Then the textile and performance-related characteristics of materials treated in this way were analysed in detail. The results obtained show that the colour transfer is primarily caused by dye abrasion and not, as was originally thought, by abrasion of coloured fibres. It also became clear that discoloration of light furnishing fabrics could not be entirely prevented even with this approach. However, some of the synthesised treatments tested in the research project do allow the dye to be completely cleaned off by using a microfibre cloth soaked in washing solvent.

More research work will be required before the process is ready to be brought to market, because the treatments tested so far cannot yet combine complete removal of the dye with water- and oil-repellent qualities. Nevertheless, combining a number of new developments resulting from the research project may make it possible to synthesise a hydro- and oleophobic treatment which has excellent dye removing properties in the future.

We are grateful for the sponsorship for this project from the Textile Research Council, as part of the programme to support "Industrial Community Research" (IGF), with funds from the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) provided through the Federation of Industrial Research Associations (AIF).

Rose-Marie Riedl | idw
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