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 -
Eighth Sense Emotion-Responsive Cloak
'This sensitivity to mood explains the real popularity of bio-fabrics...' - JG Ballard, 1970.
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.'
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.
Cormorant Flying Car
'The cab came floating down out of the sky...'
ElliQ Robot To Help Israel's Grandmas And Grandpas
'The robant and the tiny old woman entered the control room slowly...'
EU Debates Kill Switches For Robots
'I have a mechanism which our autofac on Mars builds as an... emergency safety...'
Scotland Set To Implement Basic Income
'Earned by just being born.'
Sales Robots More Persistent Than Humans
'Robot-salesmen were everywhere, gesturing,,, shrilling...'
AI Identifies Suicidal Behavior With 93 Percent Accuracy
'...He padded into the living room, and seated himself by the suitcase; he opened it, clicked switches, and turned on Dr. Smile.'
Razer Project Valerie Laptop Unfurls
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled silently...'
Can Virtual Reality help People Cope With Pain?
Research is promising.
Dust Movement On The Moon, Saturn's Rings Solved
'...The dust normally on the surface picks up and keeps a charge.'
Largest Micro-Drone Swarm Release Successful
'... Programmed to hang in space in a hexagonal grid pattern.'
Robot Motion Planning 10K Times Faster
'The robot crab... fired a burst of light, then froze...'
Reconfigured Graphene 10X Strong, 5 Percent Dense, As Steel
'...It was made of Alohydrolium, which is the lightest of all metals.'
Axiom - The World's First Private Space Station?
'So Webb Foster had built his space laboratory... It was a great crystal sphere, a thousand feet in diameter.'
DataTraveler Ultimate Generation 2 Terabyte Flashdrive
'A man or woman could carry AIs or complete planetary data spheres...'
HyperFace Aims To Foil Facial Recognition
'...A million and a half physiognomic fraction-representations of various people.'
MIT's aeroMorph Technology
'... It falls into that structure like a rubber figure returning to shape.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories