Smart Textile is the most talked about topic at the moment. Smart textiles have been invented with the help of nanotechnology. So, what is this nanotechnology? Nanotechnology is the changes and regulation of matter at the molecular level. This takes place within a range of about 1-100 nanometers (nm). Nanotechnology (NT) is now widely used in textile industry as well as in electronics, medical, powerhouses and various research fields. NT has recently brought immense improvement in textile industry. In textile industry NT is mainly used to develop desired textile characteristics such as high tensile strength, unique surface structure, durability, water repellency, antimicrobial properties and the like. It has had a massive response to fiber/yarn manufacturing and fiber finishing. Let’s talk about the modern application of nanotechnology in textile.
Nanotechnology in Fashion
To modernize the clothing industry, fashion designers are constantly working and NT has added a new dimension on it. Nanotechnology has created a new fashion market by using nano-sized particles to improve the properties of fabrics without significant changes in thickness & weight and to make waterproof, microbicidal, UV-blocking or antistatic fabrics. Nanotechnology can color control in tunable fashion without the use of dyes. For example: Ag nanoparticles can be used to create a shiny metallic-yellow color. The demand for nanotechnology-based textiles or nanotextiles is increasing tremendously. Smart textiles are also encouraging fashion businesses towards nanotech.
Nanotechnology in Textile
The current textile industry has come a long way with the help of nanotechnology. The unique features of NT have attracted scientists and researchers in the textile industry, so they are constantly innovating something new. The textile industry is a significant polluter of the environment. Nowadays consumers demand eco-friendly products. NT can provide sustainable products. NT also offers many benefits such as hygienic properties and reduces its production cost, save energy, makes eco-friendly products. So the use of NT in textile industry has increased rapidly.
Smart textile can be defined as the materials that are able to sense and response to stimuli. These stimuli could be thermal, chemical, mechanical, electric, magnetic or from other source. Smart textiles are not only for clothing but also used in many fields such as robotics, medicine, aircraft, surgery and military battlefields.
Intelligent textile can be defined as the materials that are not only capable of thinks for themselves but also reacting and responding to environmental condition. Intelligent textiles mainly used in protection and safety applications. PCM, SMM, Chromic and Conductive materials are the most significant materials of intelligent textile.
Wearable textile can be defined as a combination of sensors and small flexible light emitting displays that enable the wearing signals as a result of stimuli from the body. The sensors monitor the heart bit, temperature, pulse rate etc. Wearable textiles are used for public protection. police officers, firefighters, rescues teams used it for safety.
Modern Application of Nanotechnology in Textile Industry
There are many application of NT in textile industry and the application is increased tremendously day by day. The application of nanotechnology can be explained in three steps: according to the department, according to the properties of textile materials, and according to the apparel industry.
Application in Department Wise
This types of application in the NT, textile industry has now been added as one of the most beneficial sector. This type of application includes:
- NT in manufacturing composite fibers,
- NT in textile finishing
Nanotechnology in Textile Finishing
Nanotechnology has come up with a new application technique in the field of textile finishing. The main attention is the application of chemicals finishes by nanomaterials. The recent applications in textile finishing are breathable water proof sky jacket, stain repellent garments. Nanoparticles make the fabric breathable, durable, water resistant, remains soft and bright. When the fabrics treated with TiO2 and MgO nanoparticles, it breaks the harmful and toxic chemicals. ZnO and TiO2 nanoparticles have been utilized for UV protection. SiO2 is a coating materials that improve the strength and flame-resistance of textile fiber. These advances in NT application are expected to further improve the fabric finishing for the next generation of fabrics.
Application in Properties of Textile Material:
The properties of nan textile materials play an important role in the textile industry. The application of some properties of nan textile materials is briefly discussed:
The nano-whisker is 1\100 the size of a hydrocarbon and a common cotton fiber, which creates water repellent properties in the fabric. When nano-whiskers are added to the fabric, a peach fuzz effect is created without lowering the strength of cotton. The space between the whiskers on the fabric are smaller than the typical drop of water, but longer than water molecule, thus the water stays on top of the whiskers and above the surface of the fabric. If the pressure is applied to it, liquid can still pass through the fabric.
The most important functions performed by the garment are to protect the wearer from the weather and the harmful rays of the sun. ZnO and TiO2 are commonly used UV-blockers that are more efficient at absorbing and scattering UV radiation than conventional size, and thus provide better protection against UV-rays.
Many antimicrobial agents such as nano-sized silver, TiO2, ZnO, triclosan are used in textile for imparting antibacterial properties. With the uses of nano-sized particles, the number of particles per unit area increased and thus the antibacterial effect can be minimized.
An antistatic agent is commonly used to reduce or eliminate static electricity caused by the triboelectric effect. Some nanosized particles such as TiO2, ZnO and ATO provide anti-static effect because they are electrically conductive materials.
Application in Apparel Industry
Nanotech-enhanced textiles are already available in some application including the sports industry, skincare, space technology, clothing and materials technology, which are used for better protection in extreme environments. Swimming suits, running shoes, tennis racquets, golf balls, skin creams, surgical gloves, bullet proof vests are also improved by nanotechnology.
Global Status of NT in Textile
Different counties of the world like USA, USA, China, Canada, Germany and India are working on innovation of nanotechnology in textile. NT in the garment industry is constantly unveiling new creations. For example, in January 2019, a textile company of the Teijin Group launched a new line of sportswear and other wearable solutions. The global NT apparel market has grown from $4.24 billion in 2020 to $6.3 billion in 2021, with an annual growth rate of 6.6%. Its growth has slowed slightly due to COVID-19 impact, but it is expected to reach 25% by 2025.
Nanotechnology can be the next revolution. NT has been grown rapidly over the last decade. It has numerous applications in the textile industry. Its application can economically improve the textile industry and expand product quality. With several advantages, it will last a long time in the textile industry and in the end its use will be higher to higher. And in the future it will dominate the textile sector.