The main purpose of taking up this work was to see the influence of metallic nanoparticles on various fabric properties. This paper emphasizes on mechanical, aesthetic and anti-bacterial properties of the polyester, cotton and polyester cotton-blended fabric samples.
Three fabrics, 100 per cent polyester, 100 per cent cotton and polyester cotton-blended (50:50), were procured from the market. They were subjected to mild washing treatment so that the fabrics could be impregnated with copper (Cu) nanoparticles following standard procedure. The characterization of Cu nano-loaded textiles has been done using various techniques such as scanning electron microscopy for surface morphology, X-ray fluorescence spectrometer for elemental analysis and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy for chemical composition. However in this paper, the focus is on various fabric properties and influence of this treatment on them. Antimicrobial activity was measured as per AATCC 100 quantitative method.
The structural properties showed changes but not major ones. The impregnation of Cu nanoparticles is nothing but a chemical treatment, and it is not uncommon to find reduction in the mechanical properties of the specimen. Here also, the mechanical properties were studied but did not reveal any significant change. The aesthetic properties for cotton fabrics showed an improvement. Improvement in the anti-bacterial activity was observed for all the fabric samples but the improvement in cotton fabric is worth mentioning. Thus, nano treatment imparts anti-bacterial property without hampering the mechanical properties of the parent textiles.
It is usual to find changes in the various properties of the materials subjected to nano treatment or treatment of any sort. Though the fabric samples were subjected to similar treatment, the quantity of nanoparticles taken up by each of them was different. The reason behind this could be the difference in the crystallinity of the fabric samples. Polyester fabric showed the highest resistance, as it was least affected by the nano treatment given. Cotton fabrics composed of cotton fibers are amorphous in nature, hence showed better take-up and hence were more affected by the said treatment.
Cotton fabrics are the most favored fabric, especially in regions with hot climatic conditions. Even though these fabrics are very sought after, they have a major drawback related to the aesthetic appeal of the fabric. These fabrics have very poor resistance to the crease formation, as well as their ability to recover from the external deformation. But the study conducted on the fabric samples has shown favorable results for the cotton fabric. A significant improvement in their aesthetic and anti-bacterial activity was found. At present, textiles with nano finishing fall in niche market due to its higher cost. But finishing with in-house Cu nanoparticles may open up hygiene textiles for consumers at affordable rates.
Cotton is still the most popular natural fiber in most of the tropical and sub-tropical regions. People located in these places have a natural urge to wear fabrics made from cotton fibers. Due to the hot weather, sweating is natural. However, this tends to keep the skin in humid state resulting in various skin problems, as cotton is also prone to bacterial attack. But this work has shown positive results, meaning to say that cotton fabrics show improved resistance to the bacterial activity. Hence, its suitability for hygiene applications may soon become a reality.
It is true that a lot of work is being reported on nano materials and their application to textiles for various reasons. Recently, many reports are available related to finishing of textiles using nanoparticles. However, most of the researchers are using silver nanoparticles for the same. In this work, use of in-house Cu nanoparticles has been done to treat fabric samples, which is more economical than silver nano. Also quantity required to meet desired property with Cu nanoparticles is less than the conventional treatment. This work is a sincere attempt to prepare hygienic common textiles at economical rates using continuous application technique which offers durable efficacy against human pathogenic bacterium.
Kanade, P. and Patel, B.H. (2017), "Copper nano mediated hygienic textiles with improved aesthetic properties", Research Journal of Textile and Apparel, Vol. 21 No. 2, pp. 146-158. https://doi.org/10.1108/RJTA-01-2017-0004
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