Self-Cleaning Fabric - Polymer Film Sprinkled With Silver Nanoparticles

Researchers at Clemson University are trying to make your clothes cleaner - permanently. The secret is a polymer film of polyglycicidyl methacrylate sprinkled with silver nanoparticles.

(From Hybrid Polymer Nanolayers)

The coating can be integrated into any fabric. It is not actually self-cleaning, but will tend to resist dirt much better than other fabrics. Team member Phil Brown, PhD, explains "“The concept is based on the lotus plant, whose leaves are well-known for their ability to ‘self-clean’ by repelling water and dirt. Likewise, when water is exposed to the treated fabric, the dirt will be carried away more easily. You will still need some water to rinse away dirt and stains, but cleaning will be quicker and less frequent.”

The new coating has some environmental advantages, since no fluorine-based chemical finishes are used. The fabrics can be made in any color; it can be used in clothing, uniforms and even ragtop automobiles (that is, convertibles). Read more at self-cleaning suits may be in your future.

In his 1995 novel The Diamond Age, Neal Stephenson wrote about fabricules, nanotechnology that made it possible to have gloves that you could actually dig into dirt with and yet be clean moments later.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/23/2004)

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