In today's world, consumers have more choices in the type of fabrics they wear. Fabrics of the present times go far beyond the natural fibres in their performance. Innovations in the field of nanotechnology present new ways of processing fabrics that will create a new era in the textile industry. Waterproof fabrics are the latest innovation in this field. No matter the time this fabric is soaked in water, it comes out dry as ever. These fabrics are made to ensure protection from environmental fracases like rain, wind and decrease of body heat. They prevent the penetration of liquid water, snow and at the same time allow body sweat to evaporate easily.
Moisture handling ability of textiles during rain, snow, and while involved in hard; physical activities are regarded as the major factor for performance and comfort. A clothing that is worn next to the skin should have good moisture absorption, and fast drying abilities. Contradictory opinions exist regarding the type of material to be used. Some manufacturers feel that moisture absorbing is necessary for these kinds of fabrics, and hence cotton or viscose material should be used. A few others argue that the fibres used in these garments should not absorb moisture, so that sweat is removed away from the skin onto the outer layers of the garment, and will get evaporated into the atmosphere. Blends in the fabric layers are capable of giving the best properties of both the fabrics. Biocomponent knits like polyester and woolen fibres provide the positives of both fabrics; insulation as well as wicking in a single layer.
Scientists from the University of Zurich have come up with a fabric, which is considered as the latest invention in this field. Water stays on the top of this fabric as balls, and can be removed with just a tilt of the cloth. These fabrics are made from polyester fibres, and are coated with millions of 40 nanometer wide silicone nanofilaments. In this process, silicone is condensed into the fibres in the form of gas to form nanofilaments. A permanent layer of air, trapped in silicone nanofilaments, that is present in the fabric, prevents the water from penetrating into the cloth. The water that stays on the top of the fabric needs to be tilted only a little and all the water will roll off the fabric like marbles without leaving a trace. Researchers also believe that this process can be successfully applied to other materials like viscose, cotton, and wool though polyester gives the best results currently.
Manufacturing fabrics with nano-sized particles improves the performance of the fabric. Simultaneously, it does not add weight or thickness to the cloth. Nanotechnology is now coming up with new ways of processing fabrics which will create a revolution in the fabric industry. It is a vast field offering a wide range of benefits to the society. The benefits reaped out of it, depends on the researches carried out, and the amount of money invested.