Self-cleaning fabrics in the lab
Nanoparticles are a miracle of modern science and technology. Australian researchers have managed to harness the power of nanotechnology, having successfully developed ‘self-cleaning’ wool and fabrics. This is made possible with having the researchers ‘prepared wool fabrics with and without a nanoparticle coating composed of anatase titanium dioxide, a substance that is known to destroy stains, dirt, and harmful microorganisms upon exposure to sunlight.’ One of their rather dirty experiments involved pouring red wine (a waste of booze if you ask me) on pristine and nanotechnology-coated wool. Despite that unsightly stain, the coated fabric ‘showed almost no signs of the red stain, whereas the untreated fabric remained deeply stained’ after twenty hours.
Kudos must be given to Dr Walid Daoud, Lecturer in Organic Chemistry at the Faculty of Science of Monash University and his colleagues for developing this amazing coating. I believe that housewives and soccer moms around the world will definitely fall in love with such an invention, as they no longer have to scratch their heads over how their offspring actually managed to get that dirty after being left alone for a mere five minutes. According to Roger Highfield, Science Editor for The Telegraph in UK, “The coating, which is non-toxic, can be permanently bonded to the fibre and does not alter its texture and feel, they note, so a silk tie would still feel silky. The tricky part of the research was finding a way to bind the keratin to the titanium dioxide. Applying a ceramic inorganic material to organic fibres, in particular keratin protein fibres such as wool, silk, hemp, and spider silk, remained a challenge.”
This technology isn’t perfect though as there are some limitations to it as well. It will take some time before all its sore points are weeded out, but all I can say is this – detergent companies, watch out! Thy end is nigh approaching.