Self-Cleaning Wool and Silk Developed Using Nanotechnology
Good news for those who hate washing socks, are worried about hygiene or resent spending money on dry cleaning: self cleaning forms of wool and silk have been developed with the help of nanotechnology.
Wool socks, skirts and silk ties may soon clean themselves of smells and stains in the sunshine, researchers in Australia and China suggest.
Dr Walid Daoud of Monash University, Victoria, Australia, and colleagues prepared wool fabrics with and without a nanoparticle coating - particles around five nanometres across (five billionths of a metre) composed of anatase titanium dioxide, a substance already used as a pigment that is known to break down and destroy contaminants upon exposure to sunlight.
"The self-cleaning technology in our work uses titanium dioxide photocatalyst that when triggered by light, it decomposes dirt, stains, harmful microorganisms and so on," says Dr Daoud.
The researchers then stained the fabric samples with red wine. After 20 hours of exposure to simulated sunlight, the coated fabric showed almost no signs of the red stain, whereas the untreated fabric remained deeply stained, the researchers say.