Nanoparticle-Treated Clothing Prevents Colds And Flu
Cornell fiber scientists and fashion designers have joined forces to create clothing that helps prevents colds and flu. The two-toned dress and metallic denim jacket (shown below) have been treated with silver nanoparticles.
(Jacket and dress treated with metallic nanoparticles prevent colds and flu)
Designed by Olivia Ong '07 in the College of Human Ecology's Department of Fiber Science and Apparel Design, the garments were infused with their unusual qualities by fiber science assistant professor Juan Hinestroza and his postdoctoral researcher Hong Dong.
A microscope is needed to distinguish the basis of this new look - electrostatically charged nanoparticles creating a protective shield around the cotton fibers in the top part of the dress, and the sleeves, hood and pockets of the jacket.
The upper portion of the dress contains cotton coated with silver nanoparticles. Dong first created positively charged cotton fibers using ammonium- and epoxy-based reactions, inducing positive ionization. The silver particles, about 10-20 nanometers across (a nanometer is one-billionth of a meter) were synthesized in citric acid, which prevented nanoparticle agglomeration.
Dipping the positively charged cotton into the negatively charged silver nanoparticle solution resulted in the particles clinging to the cotton fibers.
Silver possesses natural antibacterial qualities that are strengthened at the nanoscale, thus giving Ong's dress the ability to deactivate many harmful bacteria and viruses. The silver infusion also reduces the need to wash the garment, since it destroys bacteria, and the small size of the particles prevents soiling and stains.
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