Researchers at the University of Georgia are exploiting nanotechnology to develop sustainable dyeing and finishing techniques for cotton textiles. Ultra thin coating technology offers new opportunities for cotton finishing. The research group has come up with nanocellulose gels that can be used to dye cotton and blends.
Nanocellulose gels obtained from bleached pulp are dyed to obtain nanocellulose-dye dispersions, which are then coated on to textiles. Spray coating and screen printing methods can be used to obtain the coloration using the gels. Pretreatments such as scouring and bleaching do not affect the dyeing efficiency. The ultrathin coating technology has been used to dye cotton using reactive and indigo dyes. The gel technology uses less water and the dye fixation is higher than the exhaust method. If cost-effective sustainable processes can be made commercially viable, that can move the textile industry into the next phase.