How to make natural ‘wonder fabric’ - wool - more wonderful

December 23rd, 2009 - 1:16 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Dec 23 (ANI): Chinese researchers have developed a new coating that may improve natural wonders of wool - making the so-called ‘wonder fabric’ more wonderful.

Wool is already regarded as the “wonder fabric” for its lightness, softness, warmth even when wet, and other qualities.

The new nanoparticle coating could give wool a “brain,” placing it among other “smart” fabrics that shake off wrinkles, shrinkage and “breathe” to release perspiration.

According to lead researcher Fangqiong Tang and Yi Li, wool is naturally water-repellant, or hydrophobic, a feature that acts as a barrier to enhanced features such as anti-wrinkle, anti-shrinkage finishing and dyeing. Wool’s water-repellency also hinders its ability to absorb moisture and makes wool garments feel sweaty.

Although scientists have developed treatments that make wool more hydrophilic, or water-absorbing, they may not last long, may damage the fabric, and are not environmentally-friendly.

The scientists describe development of new coating that appears to ease these problems.

It is made from silica nanoparticles of 1/50,000th the width of a human hair.

The particles absorb excess moisture, and make wool superhydrophilic. The new layer does not affect wool’s colour or texture and can withstand dry cleaning.

The findings appear in ACS’ Langmuir, a bi-weekly journal. (ANI)

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