Exposed to sunlight, cotton fabric cleans itself

December 15th, 2011 - 1:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Dec 15 (IANS) Scientists from China are developing a cotton fabric that can clean itself of stains and bugs when exposed to ordinary sunlight.

Environmental researchers Mingce Long and Deyong Wu, from Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Hubei University for Nationalities, China, say their fabric uses a coating made from a compound of titanium dioxide, the white material used in white paint, foods and sunscreen lotions.

Titanium dioxide breaks down dirt and kills microbes when exposed to some type of light. It is used in self-cleaning windows, kitchen and bathroom tiles, odour-free socks and other products, the journal Applied Materials & Interfaces reported.

Self-cleaning cotton fabrics have been made in the past, but they self-clean thoroughly only when exposed to ultraviolet rays.

A new cotton fabric has been developed that cleans itself when exposed to ordinary sunlight, said a statement of the American Chemical Society.

Their report describes cotton fabric coated with nanoparticles made from a compound of titanium dioxide and nitrogen, said the statement.

The report shows how the fabric coated with the material removes an orange dye stain when exposed to sunlight. Dispersing the nanoparticles composed of silver and iodine accelerates the discoloration process. The coating remains intact after washing and drying.

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