Chemists in Colorado now are reporting solutions to two major problems with bamboo fabrics that may speed adoption of this amazing plant — which grows like Jack’s beanstalk without special care — in garments and other consumer products.
Reporting at the 235th national meeting of the American Chemical Society, Subhash Appidi and Ajoy Sarkar, Ph.D., from Colorado State University have discovered a way of making bamboo fabric that is resistant to the sun’s damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation and has anti-bacterial properties.
Widely available in Japan, China, India and other countries, bamboo fabric is soft, durable and elastic. It hangs as gracefully as silk, and has an attractive, lustrous sheen. A leading option in the so-called “ethically produced” clothing market, bamboo is one of the world’s fastest growing plants, reaching maturity in about 3-4 years, compared to 25 to 70 years for commercial tree species in the U.S.
“Bamboo is environmentally friendly,” says Appidi. “Pesticides and other agents are necessary to grow most other natural fibers — there is nothing like that in bamboo production.”
But despite bamboo’s promise as an environmentally friendly fiber, Appidi says untreated bamboo fabric has plenty of room for improvement. Raw bamboo fabric lets almost all damaging UV radiation pass through and reach the skin. And while many tout bamboo’s inherent anti-bacterial properties, Appidi found that untreated bamboo fabric did not live up to antimicrobial expectations.
“All cellulose fibers allow more moisture to leak in and provide more food for bacteria to eat. That’s why bacteria grow more on natural fibers rather than synthetic fibers,” says Appidi. The resulting bacterial blooms can lead to unpleasant odors and unsanitary clothing.
For Appidi, creating bacteria-free bamboo garments is a necessity. His goal is to create clothes for use in the medical environment that are nearly 100 percent antibacterial and UV-resistant. Appidi increased the UV-protecting abilities of fabric by coloring pieces of commercially-available bamboo cloth in a dye laced with UV absorbing chemicals. After finding the optimal concentration of absorbing chemicals, he tested UV protection levels.
To improve on the intrinsic antibacterial properties of bamboo, Appidi treated pieces of commercially purchased bamboo fabric with Tinosan —“one of the better antibacterial agents on the market right now,” according to the researcher.
His results showed a 75-80 percent bacterial reduction, a significant improvement over untreated bamboo fabric. There was also a profound increase in UV protection, he said. In terms of “ultraviolet protection factor” (UPF), any value of over 50 is deemed safe against UV rays. Appidi said his treated fabric almost reached 56.
More research may get Appidi’s bamboo fabric in hospitals — and eventually store shelves. He is investigating other antibacterial agents that may help him attain a 99 percent bacterial reduction in bamboo fabric. Insight into the effect of multiple laundry cycles is also necessary, though preliminary findings suggest that the UV and microbial protection remain after washing.
Eventually, Appidi would like to see bamboo fabric become as common in the United States as it is in Asian countries. “There are good prospects for bamboo fabrics in the future,” says Appidi.
Charmayne Marsh | EurekAlert!
Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed
18.01.2017 | American Chemical Society
127 at one blow...
18.01.2017 | Stiftung Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig, Leibniz-Institut für Biodiversität der Tiere
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
18.01.2017 | Life Sciences