Submitted to: Textile Research Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/10/2008
Publication Date: 8/1/2008
Citation: Sawhney, A.P., Singh, K.V., Pang, S., Sachinvala, N.D., Condon, B.D., Li, G. 2008. Modern Applications of Nanotechnology in Textiles. Textile Research Journal. 78(8):731-739. Interpretive Summary: Although the term nanotechnology is relatively new, the underlying technology is almost 100 years old when the terms such as “micro” and/or “sub-micro” were used in the production of extremely small particles of various polymers. Indeed, in the last decade or so, there have been numerous significant advancements in the field of nanotechnology, which are being utilized in the plethora of engineering and science applications. Because of its limitless potential in consumer-oriented applications, the textile industry is one of the premier and major beneficiaries of the advancements in nanotechnology. The cotton textile industry, being one of the largest consumer-supported industries worldwide, generally has a significant impact on a nation’s economy. Significant advancements in the application of nanotechnology to improve textile properties obviously offer a high economic benefit potential to the textile industry. It has been demonstrated in recent years that nanotechnology indeed can be effectively used in the areas of textile fiber science and technology to develop textile products of considerably improved attributes, such as fabric softness, durability, and “breathability,” Advanced performance characteristics, namely, water repellency, fire retardancy, antimicrobial resistance, etc., can also be efficiently developed by deploying advanced nanotechnology. It is expected that exploration and enhancement of textile materials though nanotechnology may become a trillion dollar industry in the next decade, which will bring tremendous technological, economic and ecologic benefits to the textile consumers and producers alike.
Technical Abstract: Nanotechnology deals with the science and engineering of materials at the dimensions of roughly 1 to 100 nanometers (1 billion nanometers = 1 meter) length scale. At the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), nanotechnology is defined as the understanding, manipulation and control of matter at the above stated length scale, such that the physical, chemical, and biological properties of the matter and hence materials (individual atoms, molecules, and bulk matter) can be engineered, synthesized and/or altered to develop next generation of improved materials, devices, structures, and systems. Nanotechnology at molecular level can be beneficially used in developing desired, basic textile characteristics, such as high tensile strength, unique surface structure, soft hand, durability, etc. It can also be efficiently deployed in developing special and advanced performance attributes, such as water repellency, fire retardancy, antimicrobial properties, etc., of textiles. Indeed, the advancements in nanotechnology have created enormous opportunities and challenges for the textile industry, including the cotton industry, which is the main focus of this paper with 103 references on what is happening in the application of nanotechnology to textile fibers, yarns and fabrics.