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Luxembourg's OCSiAl's graphene nanotubes boost textiles' functionality

28 Nov '22
3 min read
Pic: OCSiAl
Pic: OCSiAl

Graphene nanotubes used as an electrostatic dissipative material add expanded electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection without compromising resistance to aggressive environments, as per Luxembourg-based global nanotechnology company OCSiAl Group. Polymer-coated chemical-resistant fabrics and fireproof special textiles with expanded ESD safety function have been developed.

Efficient working loadings starting from 0.06 per cent are sufficient for stable anti-static properties fully compliant with safety standards and position graphene nanotubes far ahead of other conductive materials, stated OCSiAl in a press release.

Protective clothing, upholstery, and industrial fabrics that experience harsh conditions require advanced performance. Depending on the final application, specialty textiles can be augmented with flame retardancy, durability, chemical protection, and other properties. Additionally, ESD protection is obligatory in the chemical, oil and gas, and many other industries that are subject to safety regulations.

In applications where multifunctionality of textile is required, graphene nanotubes overcome the limitations of other conductive materials such as unstable anti-static properties; degradation of strength, or chemical or fire resistance; complicated manufacturing processes; dusty production; carbon contamination on the material’s surface; or limited colour options. Recent developments show that graphene nanotubes provide ESD protection to textiles in full compliance with safety standards and without degrading the textile’s resistance to harsh environments, greatly enhancing the value of textiles.

One such example is textiles coated with fluoroelastomer (a polymer that is highly resistant to chemicals) augmented with graphene nanotubes from OCSiAl. Nanotubes provide the material with surface resistivity of 10^6–10^8 ohms per square compliant with EN, ISO, and ATEX standards for personal protective equipment. This new technology opens the door for the fabric to be used in high-level protective suits, combining exceptional protection from chemicals with electrostatic discharge protection.

Another example is how graphene nanotube technology is being acknowledged as a replacement for metal yarns in fireproof and anti-static textiles, protecting against sparks, splashes of molten metal, high temperatures, and the risk of sudden electrostatic discharge. While metal yarns require a specific knitting process and storage conditions, incorporating nanotubes in a fabric does not require any changes in the manufacturing process as the water-based dispersion is introduced into the fabric at the fluoro-organic treatment stage. The fabric with OCSiAl’s graphene nanotubes has been proven to maintain the pre-set level of ESD protection (surface resistance of 10^7 ohms) after numerous washes.

Permanent and stable electrical conductivity, facilitated by graphene nanotubes, is not only a matter of safety but brings additional value in augmenting dust-repellent properties and touchscreen compatibility for comfort and time savings. At the same time, the ultralow nanotube concentrations result in maintained manufacturing processes and mechanical properties, and improve product aesthetics by making it possible to use a wide range of colours. Altogether, these benefits allow manufacturers to create next-generation special textiles with expanded functionality.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DP)

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