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Nano Textiles

By : Aravin Prince. P
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In 2000, the barrier between man and machine is as thin as a strand from the double helix. As computer equipment, surgical tools and communications pipelines shrink ever smaller, the next step in engineering is to merge the biological and mechanical molecules and compounds in to really, really small machines. This will happen in many different ways and it raises many new issues. The answer of these issues is revolutionary NANOTECHNOLOGY - the promising technology for Future. Nanotechnology is an umbrella term covering a wide range of technologies concerned with structures and processes on the nanometer scale

We are living in this exciting era and feeling the great impacts of technology on the fibers and textiles industry. In spite of nanotechnology, being a vast field itself how can textile technology be discrete from it? Definitely not, as nanotechnology has left its print on other technologies as well as on textile technology. For instance, the application of nanotechnology in the field of textiles has led to the development of Nanofibers, NanoCompositions, NanoPolymers, NanoFinishes, etc.

The subject nanotechnology in textiles is as vast as universe so to restrict in few words is merely impossible. This paper summarizes the recent development of nanotechnology in textile areas including textile formation to textile finishing. Details on two major technical aspects, using nanosize entities and employing specific techniques to create nanosize structure inside textile materials, have been eluding. A number of nanosize fillers and their resultant performances have been reviewed. Particularly, monolayer assembly has been introduced. At the end, perspectives regarding future development of nanotecnogy for smart &intelligent textiles have been addressed.


At first glance, the lotus, a flowering wetland plant native to Asia, may not be of interest to researchers. But, a leading German chemical manufacturer has developed a spray-on coating that mimics the way lotus leaves repel water droplets and particles of dust. Lotus plants have super hydrophobia surface and this effect arises because they are coated with hydrophobic wax crystals of around 1 nm (nanometer) in diameter. This nano structure, observed in nature, had led to the development of an entirely new area of manufacturing and research nanotechnology.

As the extent of materials to which nanotechnology can be applied is increasing, opportunities for application are widening. Nanotechnology has potential applications in computers (nano chips), aerospace (launch vehicles, nanotubes), colorants, and biotechnology and in varies other fields. Nanotechnology is without doubt, the technology of the future. In the field of textiles, nanotechnology has been employed in the synthesis of quantum dot (semiconductor nanocrystals). Dye molecules are used to cloud fibers. In nanocrystals, the color changes with increase in particle size. It is thus possible to create different size particles from a single material having different optical properties that cover the entire visible region.

The prefix 'nano' is used to indicate the billionth part or 109th part of a quantity. Nanotechnology, also called molecular manufacturing, is a branch of engineering that deals with the design and manufacturer of extremely small electronic circuits and mechanical devices built at the molecular level of matter. This technology has enabled scientists and researchers to gain precise control over matter at the atomic and molecular level. A scientist had once said that some of the problems of chemistry and biology could be simplified if we could work at the atomic level and actually see what we are doing. Colour is imparted to fabrics by a process called subtractive colours mixing. Many of the colours produced in nature are a result of interaction of light with matter, by interference or diffraction phenomenon. This ideology can be applied to textile dyes to obtain pure and bright hues. Nanocrystals as colourants are stable and, when mixed with dyes, can produce a spectrum of colours, which is not attainable by either dyes or pigment. Finishing of textiles and fiber manufacturing are areas where nanotechnology has great potential for application. The lotus effect finish mentioned earlier is an example. Moreover, it is estimated that nanotechnology in textiles will be billion dollar business in the next few years.


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