Self-cleaning fabrics could revolutionize the sport apparel industry. The same technology, created by scientists working for the U.S. Air Force, has already been used to create t-shirts and underwear that can be worn hygienically for weeks without washing.
The new technology attaches nanoparticles to clothing fibers using microwaves. Then, chemicals that can repel water, oil and bacteria are directly bound to the nanoparticles. These two elements combine to create a protective coating on the fibers of the material. This coating both kills bacteria, and forces liquids to bead and run off (see diagram below).
(Process diagram for self-cleaning fabric with nanoparticles)
The U.S. military spent more than $20 million to develop the fabric, deriving from research originally intended to protect soldiers from biological attack.
Jeff Owens, one of the scientists who worked to develop the process, said "During Desert Storm, most casualties were from bacterial infections -not accidents or friendly fire.
We treated underwear for soldiers who tested them for several weeks and found they remained hygienic. They also helped clear up some skin complaints."
Science fiction writer Neal Stephenson wrote specifically about nanotech fabrics that stayed clean; he referred to "fabricules" in his 1995 novel The Diamond Age:
...with a quick brush, John and Gwendolyn were able to transfer most of the dirt onto their white gloves. From there it went straight into the air. Most gentlemen's and ladies' gloves nowadays were constructed of infinitesimal fabricules that knew how to eject dirt...
(Read more about fabricules)
British news organizations pointed out that an earlier reference to the general idea of clothes that never got dirty can be found in the 1951 film The Man in the White Suit. SF fans can console themselves with the fact that the lead role was played by Alec Guiness, who of course played Obiwan Kenobi in the original Star Wars films.
Don't miss these other futuristic clothing advances:
From the Telegraph via Spluch.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/4/2007)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
proCover Smart Sock Prosthetic Limb Enhancement
'Series of chemelectric afferent nerve-analogues, which permitted it to gauge to an ounce...' - Roger Zelazny, 1965.
Smart Fabric Can Harvest Energy From Sunshine And Motion
'The clothes and jewellery drew their tiny power requirements from her movements.' - Alastair Reynolds, 2005.
Fashion Needs To Step Up Technology Education
'Keeping up with advances in fashion is almost as easy as reading - if you're reading science fiction.'
Self-Healing Textiles! Say Goodbye To Torn Jeans
'The constant renewal of the fibers, repairing any faults...' - JG Ballard, 1970.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Otto Self-Driving Truck Kit Delivers Budweiser Beer
'Trucks gulped packages and scurried like beetles...'
Airnest Drone Flight Logging Tool
'He reached to unsnap the cartograph from his belt.'
Untethered Drone Gets Wireless Power
'We'll use my 'broomstick'.'
ESA Plans Akon Projectile To Europa ala Jules Verne
'... might [it] not be possible to project a shot up to the moon?'
Transparent OLED TV By Panasonic
It's the look of things to come.
Shape-Memory Metal Transforms Millions Of Times
'Annealed in any shape for a time, and codified, the structure of that shape is retained down to the molecules.'
Advertising Drones Hover Over Traffic In Mexico
'Blurbflies are allowd to travel the streets, buzzing their adverts alive and direct...'
How Can Amazon Patent A Voice-Controlled Drone?
''Tight mid-shot...' he told it.'
'North Sense' Wearable Piercing From Cyborg Nest
'The fingers opened from the many-scaled stellarimeter grafted onto his palm.'
proCover Smart Sock Prosthetic Limb Enhancement
'Series of chemelectric afferent nerve-analogues, which permitted it to gauge to an ounce...'
Robots And AIs Will Replace Humans At 7 Percent Of U.S. Jobs
'And Mike took on endless new jobs.'
Human Doctors Still Better Than Computers
'Nowadays surgery was normally done by autodocs...'
FEDOR Humanoid Robot To Join Russians In Space
Am enjoying view of Russian robot.
BMW Self-Balancing Motorcycle - Never Put Feet On Road
'He had never ridden any motorized device that lacked onboard steering and balance systems...'
MicroTug Is A Micro Robot Beast
'And it had been dragging something...'
Linear Elastic Actuator in Parallel (LEAP) - It's A Hopping Robot
'...Probably the most grotesque forms of transportation ever invented.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories