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IIT Delhi team develops cotton fabric that can adsorb air pollutants
Pic: IIT Delhi
A team at the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT-D) has developed a modified
cotton fabric capable of adsorbing harmful air pollutants from air. ZIF-8@CM cotton
and ZIF-67@CM cotton, as these are called, are zeolite imidazolate framework (ZIF)-modified
functionalised fabrics that adsorb high levels of organic air pollutants like benzene,
aniline and styrene from air.
The team is led by Ashwini K. Agrawal and Manjeet Jassal at the SMITA Research Lab
in the department of textile and fibre engineering, and Saswata Bhattacharya in
the department of physics, an IIT-D press release said.
An Indian Institute of Technology Delhi team has developed a modified cotton fabric
capable of adsorbing harmful air pollutants from air. ZIF-8@CM cotton and ZIF-67@CM
cotton, as these are called, are zeolite imidazolate framework-modified functionalised
fabrics that adsorb high levels of organic air pollutants like benzene, aniline
and styrene from air.
Air pollution resulting from the rising levels of particulate matter, nitrous oxides,
sulfur oxides, carbon oxides and other toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is
a major concern. A long-term exposure to even a few parts per million of these chemicals
takes a toll on health and can cause asthma, eye, and throat irritations etc.
According to research scholar Hardeep Singh, who carried out detailed experiments
to develop these fabrics, porous materials like activated carbon, zeolites and metal
organic frameworks (MOFs) are capable of adsorbing VOCs from air.
The MOFs can be tweaked to create textiles that have anti-microbial, biomedical,
particulate matter-filtering, fuel-filtering, chemical warfare-protecting and UV
radiation-absorbing properties. The ZIFs specifically are more suitable under Indian
conditions, Singh said.
Using a technique known as in-situ growth of ZIF-8 and ZIF-67 nanocrystals on the
carboxymethylated cotton fabric using a rapid water-based textile finishing approach,
the researchers developed a low-cost cotton fabric, which is capable of adsorbing
400-600 per cent more VOCs than ordinary cotton fabrics.
Furthermore, these fabrics are robust and can withstand even the harsh conditions
of washing. These can be used repeatedly and in designing functional filters and
pollution controlling upholstery fabrics among others.
The ZIF-8 functionalised fabric was found to adsorb a maximum of 19.89 mg/g of aniline,
24.88 mg/g of benzene, and 11.16 mg/g of styrene on the weight of the fabric.
These fabrics could be easily regenerated by heating the fabrics at 120 degrees
Celsius and reused without any decrease in their adsorption capacity for several
The research was jointly funded by the department of science and technology (DST)
and Resil Chemicals Pvt Ltd., Bangalore under the Nanomission.