Nanotechnology in Modern
Paul S. Sawhney1, Kumar V Singh2, Brian Condon 1,
Nozar D. Sachinvala1, and David Hui3
1Southern Regional Research Center, ARS/USDA, New Orleans, LA 70124,
2Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Miami University, Oxford, OH, 45056
3Dept of Mechanical Engineernig, University of New Orlean, New Orleans, LA 70148
q Demonstration of the scope and the applications
of Nanotechnology towards the modification and
development of advanced textile fibers, yarns,
fabrics, and the textile processing.
q Summarize the recent advances made in
nanotechnology and its applications to cotton
textiles with some novel ideas and limitations of
the existing technology.
q Nanotechnology deals with the science and technology at
dimensions of roughly 1 to 100 nanometers, although 100
nanometers presently is the practically attainable dimension for
textile products and applications.
q The inferior properties of cotton fibers and yarns can be
enhanced or complemented by engineering the physical, chemical,
and surface characteristics of cotton fibers/yarns, in order to
develop the desired textile attributes, such as fabric softness,
durability, and breathability and the advanced performance
characteristics, viz., water repellency, fire retardancy,
antimicrobial resistance, etc..
q Enhancement of textile materials by nanotechnology is expected
to become a trillion dollar industry in the next decade, with
tremendous technological, economic and ecological benefits.
q In recent years, the worldwide government funding for the R&D
in the area of nanotechnology has increased to $3 billion annually
q Carbon Nano Tube (CNT)
q This high performance fiber was discovered by Iijima
q High-performance yarns are being produced by super-
aligned arrays of carbon nanotubes .
q These fibers/yarns are produced by the electro-
q The yarns strengthened with CNT exhibit
extraordinary mechanical properties
q Young’s modulus ~ TPa range, Tensile strength ~
200 GPa, Elastic strain ~ 5 %, and Breaking
strain ~ 20 %.
q Such Nano fibers/yarns can be efficiently used as super
capacitors in electronic textile components [4-8].
q Multi-Walled Carbon Nano Tube (MWCNT)
q MWCNT nano yarns can be spun by simultaneous
reduction of fiber diameter and increase in twist (1000
q Spinning parameters depend upon specific, desired
mechanical properties (strength, toughness, energy
damping capability, etc.)
q MWCNT-reinforced yarns are used for supporting
multi-functionalities in electronic textiles.
q Uses include Capability for actuation; Energy storage
capacity; Radio or microwave absorption;
Electrostatic discharge protection; Textile heating, or
Wiring for electronic devices .
q Additional developments
q The combination “nano-fibrils” and strengthening fibers can
be used for producing nonwoven fabrics for tissue
q Polypropylene/nano-carbon fiber composites spun by melt
spinning process considerably enhance the modulus,
compressive strength, and dispersion properties .
q Optimal crystallization and orientation of nanofibers yield
excellent properties for micro-filtration applications in the
q Antistatic polyacrylonitrile fiber has been developed by
suspending nano-antimony-doped tin oxide particles during
the fiber spinning process. [13-14].
q By embossing the surface of synthetic fibers with nano
structures, desired functionality has been obtained .
q Integration of nano-sized antimicrobial particles into textile
fibers has led to the development of superior wound
Applications in Fabric Finishes
q Nano-TexTM has developed several fabric treatments
using nanotechnology: (a) Permanent anti-static
treatment; (b) Wrinkle-free treatment using
moisture-wicking technology; (c) Stain- resistance
and -repellent treatments; and (d) “Nanobeads” to
carry bioactive or anti-biological agents, drugs,
pharmaceuticals, sun blocks, and even textile dyes.
These treatments onto textile substrates permanently
alter properties of the textiles [16-18]. These textiles
are claimed to exhibit superior durability, softness,
tear strength, and abrasion resistance. They may also
provide softness to durable-press garments.
q Chemical oxidative deposition technology of Conducting
Electroactive Polymers (CEP) onto different kinds of fibers
and textiles, yields composite materials with high tensile
strength and good thermal stability .
q Furthermore, Surface polymerization of CEP (Graft
copolymerization) of polymer fibers increases the
conductivity almost 10 times by decreasing the electrical
q Coated polymeric composite materials can be used in
microwave attenuation, EMI shielding, and dissipation of
static electric charge. Hence, they can be useful for military
applications, e.g., camouflage, stealth technology, etc., [23-
UV rays and radiation
protection Coating of fabrics with nano-
beads used for carrying
Cotton fibers wrapping the
prevent wetting due Synthetic fiber
to fluids core
q By combining the nano-particles with the organic and inorganic
compounds, the surfaces of the fabrics treated with abrasion
resistant, water repellent, ultraviolet (UV), electromagnetic and
infrared protection finishes can be appreciably modified.
Recently, the titanium-dioxide nano-particle have been utilized
for the UV protection [25-26].
q By using nano-sized silicon dioxide, improvements in the strength
and flame-resistance of textile fabrics can be achieved .
q The usage of nano-engineered cross-link agents during finishing
process enhances the wrinkle resistance of cotton fabrics .
q Micro encapsulation technique is being used in textile industry
for flame- or fire- retardant (FR) agents and anti-microbial
agents. Recently, microcapsules containing silver nano-particles
(Silver Cap) were being investigated for providing anti-microbial
Future Directions and Challenges
q Significant potential for profitable Nano-technology applications
in cotton and other textiles.
q Application of Nano-technology may be extended to attain
performance enhancement of textile manufacturing machines &
q Especially the fabric finishing technology has taken new routes
and demonstrated the potential for significant improvements via
the applications of modern nanotechnology
q It is however important to note that advances that are taking
place in the area of nanotechnology applications in textile are still
immature. Several aspects such as human risks associated with
such applications are being investigated through several
government initiatives .
Company/ Products &
Nano-TexTM Fabric finishes: wrinkle-resistant,
(USA) [16-18] stain-resistant, anti-static and UV
protection properties (Nano-Pel,
Nano-Touch, Nano-Care, Nao-Dry &
Scholler® “Soft shells” technology for
[31-33] functional stretch multi-layer fabrics:
Dynamic climate controlled
extremely air-permeable, light, and
water & wind resistant clothing &
Bugatti  Jacket with a Nanosphere finish,
which has the moisture management
Franz-Ziener Ski jackets for developing grime-
(Germany) resistant, windproof, waterproof, and
 breathable fabric.
Institute for Develop textile materials for soldiers:
Soldier Light weight, strong, abrasion/wear
Nanotechnolo resistant, durable, impact energy
gies (ISN) [36- absorbent, temperature controlled
37] water-proof, improved camouflage,
and embedded with multipurpose
Quantum “Nano-fibrils” reinforced yarns and
Group Inc.  nonwoven fabrics for the application
in tissue engineering.
Otsuka Electro conductive fibers to be used
Kagaku for the protection from radiation
 emitted by electronics.
SRRC-ARS- Developed textile based
USDA nanocomposite material from various
 types/sources of cellulose, such as
grass, kenaf, cotton fiber, cotton plant
material, etc. with clays, which is used
as the nanofiller material
q Other Applications of Nanotechnology in Textile
q Anti-SARS masks for use by medical personnel 
q Nano-surfaces suitable for bioactive culture
matrices, textile nanosensors, and
q Nano-filtration membrane technology: For water
conservation and dye recovery [44-45]
q Developments of pigments/particles for dyeing and
printing of textile fabrics 
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