By: Dr. V K Tripathi
Nano-technology for Textile Industry
(Current products and patents)
“It’s hard to think of an industry that isn’t going to be disrupted by nanotechnology.”
-Mike Roco Senior Advisor
Nanotechnology US National Science Foundation.
By: Dr. V K Tripathi
We have already started discussing the potential impact of the nanotechnology on our wardrobes,
and the first few products of this type are already shipping. Some of them come from a company
called Nano Tex, whish uses nanoscale structures to change the physical properties of clothing.
Its Nano-Dry product purports to combine the strength of synthetic material such as nylon with the
comfort of natural open-weaves by carrying away perspiration and moisture. It dose this by
wrapping strong, durable, synthetic core fibers with specially made absorbent fibers to produce
what could be called a smart heterogeneous composite nanomaterial, though we agree that
calling it Nano-Dry is probably catchier. (see Figure 1)
The clothing industry is just now starting to feel the effects of nanotech. Eddie Bauer, for
example, is currently using embedded nanoparticals to creat stain-repellent khakis. This
seemingly simple innovation will impact not only khaki-wearers, but dry cleaners, who will find
their business declining; detergent makers, who will find less of their product moving off the
shelves; and stain-removal makers, who will experience a sharp decrease in customers. This
modest, fairly low-tech application of nanotechnology in just the small tip of a vast iceberg- an
iceberg that threatens to sink even the “unsinkable” companies.
In Nano-Tex, LLC (Emeryville, CA) the polymer system (antibacterial) have developed following
Textiles for apparel
Interior furnishings and industrial
Medical uses (2000)
In clothing manufacturing, Gore-Tex (www.gore-tex.com) offers a jacket made of a waterproof
polymer membrane with embedded nano-size carbon particles that resist taking on a static
charge. Such anti-static protection could be used, for example, in firefighters’ suits to help them
avoid static electricity that could spark fire in a hazardous situation. Nano-Tex (www.nano-
tex.com) uses nanotechnology to produce Nano-Care stain-resistant clothing. Nano-Tex won’t
give away how they incorporate their spill-resistant technology, but it’s likely that they coat the
fiber with a polymer. Because the fiber are coated and then woven into fabric, the cloth maintains
its strain resistance even after many washes – and the fabric maintains its soft texture and feel.
They license the technology to others, including clothing giants The Gap, Nike and Old Navy.
Many American and European textile companies are counting on their high-tech nano edge to
survive as they compete with countries that can provide lower cost-labor.
Are you a nanotech investor? In this era of nano speculation, Zyvex is one of the few companies
with strong funding and solid business practices that is actually making money off of nano
products and services. They are a privet company, but if they ever go public, call your broker!
Nanophase Technologies Corporation, based in Romeovill, Illinois, is currently producing
nanoparticles that are being used is vinyl flooring. What makes the flooring so special is the
nanoparticle coating. The nanoparticles are so tough that thy make the product difficult to scratch
and are so small that they are invisible to the naked eye (remember, the nanoparticles in
sunscreens, which Nanophase also manufactures, are smaller than the wavelength of ultraviolet
light). These properties allow the makers of the vinyl to offer a glossy product that can rival the
look of the tile, and they can offer a lifetime guarantee against rips and scratches. As a result, the
flooring is taking market share away from tile manufacturers and quite likely is reducing the
workload of professional tile installers.
If vinyl flooring can be given a lifetime guarantee today, it stands to reason that roofing shingles,
tabletop counters, and a host of other products might also be given similar guarantee in the near
future. If so, what happens to the production level of roofing shingles and tabletop counters? And
what about the number of contractors needed to install these products if fewer of the existing
ones are wearing out?
Sometimes called the building blocks of nanotechnology, nanoparticles (particles with diameters
less than 100nm) constitute a commercially important sector of the nanotechnology market.
Unlike many speculative applications of nanotechnology, nanoparticles have been with us for a
while. Nanoscale gold clusters have been to color ancient glass as far back a Roman civilization.
More recently, in the twentieth century, carbon black – a material composed of nanoparticles of
high-grade carbon “soot” – was incorporated into tires, resulting in greatly improved durability. By
the year 2000, carbon black for tires was a 6-million-tons-per-year global market. Nanoparticles
are useful when their properties at the nanoscale (mechanical, optical, magnetic, and so on) are
different from those at the bulk in some beneficial way and also when their size enables
interactions with biological systems.
About the author:
Dr. V K Tripathi is the managing director of Virtus Techno Innovations, a
company dedicated to the R&D in nanotechnology. He is working in the field of
applied nanotechnology since 1984. His group companies have so far filed 23
patent applications in nanotechnology. Tripathi is also the inventor of right brain
management (RBM), a patent-pending technique that can be practiced to raise
the right brain utilisation of people beyond the current 1 per cent. He can be
contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.virtusti.com www.virtusti.com -
(Nanotechnology) , www.nanocet.org -(Nanotechnology) www.vaubt.com -
(Right Brain Management)
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