To understand nano-textiles, we must first explore nanotechnology which enables the manipulation of fibers at the level of atoms and molecules to alter their properties and qualities.
The technology enables the production of clothes previously unimagined; socks that prevent odor, pants that are resistant to water and dirt, clothes that change color and t-shirts that charge mobile phones are all possibilities with nano-textile production.
The increased demand for textiles and fabrics that provide comfort with enhanced functionality and improved appearance is driving the demand for nanotechnology in this sector. Nano-filtration technology is also under investigation to recover unused dyes and chemicals from the manufacturing processes.
Surfaces Finishes and Treatments: A number of companies are using nanotechnology (e.g. titanium dioxide or zinc oxide nano-particle additives in coating formulations) to improve or add special characteristics to product surfaces, which can include stain-resistance, color durability, self-cleaning, wrinkle resistance, UV-protection, flame retardancy, water-resistance, static resistance and improved thermal performance. Applications range from automotive interiors, clothing and apparel to household and industrial textiles (e.g. floor coverings) and healthcare (medical dressings).
Antimicrobial : The addition of silver nano-particles to fabric fibers or coatings can provide antimicrobial and reduced odor properties.
Toughness and strength : The use of carbon nano-tubes and various nano-fibers and nano-particles can significantly improve the mechanical properties of the textiles giving them fire resistance or best strength and flexibility just to keep you well protected and stay comfortable along the way.
Intelligence : Nanotechnology is used in the development of dynamic clothing which can detect and respond to temperature changes. It may even enable intelligent and multifunctional garments that comprise various electronic devices (e.g. displays, sensors and energy-harvesting systems).
- Heat reactive jacket video: http://vimeo.com/20206574
A significant number of textiles and fabrics already on the market incorporate some form of nanotechnology (nano-particles, nano-fibers or surface/coating treatment), which are used to produce clothing, furniture, carpeting and medical products. The largest markets for such nano treatments are for clothing and apparel, with particular attention focusing on providing garments that eliminate odors, resist dirt and stains (and therefore, require washing less often and at lower temperatures) and require less maintenance (non-iron).
Source: Contract textile magazine