The durability of antimicrobial agents and its effectiveness is the most important factor for consumer usage. One important class of antimicrobial agents are inorganic metals and their metal oxides which can be prepared into nanoparticles and can be imparted to enhance the antimicrobial properties. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effect of three different polymeric binders during the application of zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles on the antimicrobial and performance properties of the finished fabric.
In this study, ZnO nanoparticles were prepared by a wet chemical method. The nano-particles size distributions was determined using Nanoplus Dynamic Light Scattering particle size distribution analyzer and concentration of nano ZnO 0.1% (w/v) was applied with 2% (w/v) polymeric binders, namely, polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), polyurethane (PU) and butyl acrylic (BA) on cotton fabric by pad dry cure method. The treated samples were tested for physical properties such as tearing strength, tensile strength, crease recovery and air permeability and antimicrobial properties using test method American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) 100. Further, the content of zinc in the treated samples was determined by the atomic absorption method. The treated fabric was analyzed using fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and scanning electron microscopic and also tested for cytotoxicity as per International Organization for Standardization 10993.
The results indicated that the type of polymeric binders did not show any influence on the uptake of the zinc content. All treated samples showed positive results >99% with regard to antibacterial property. However, the polymeric treated samples showed a difference in physical properties. The ZnO nano-finish reduced the tensile strength and tearing strength of the fabrics. The difference in crease recovery for samples ZnO/PVA and ZnO/PU was not much except for ZnO/BA where it increased by 38%. The air permeability decreased after application for all treated samples, the lowest among treated samples was in ZnO/PU fabric. Further, ZnO/PVA finished fabric was found to retain antibacterial property up to 50 washes and was effective against MS2 Bacteriophage as a surrogate virus when analyzed as per AATCC 100–2012 test method, and therefore can be potentially used as health-care apparel such as doctors coat and scrub suits.
The outcome of this research is in its contribution to the field of reusable textiles. It highlights the use of nanotechnology to design and develop cotton fabrics for antimicrobial properties which has the potential of preventing the growth of harmful bacteria. The study brings forth the use of ZnO nanoparticles mixed with PVA binder on 100% cotton fabrics which exhibits antibacterial and antiviral properties with adequate wash durability. Currently, there is a high demand of effective durable textiles with barrier properties and the present study provides a promising solution to provide reusable textiles with a greater level of protection.
The authors express deep gratitude towards Dr S Jejurikar and Mr P Borade, National Centre for Nanosciences and Nanotechnology, University of Mumbai, Kalina Campus, Santacruz (E), Mumbai, India for the preparation of ZnO nanoparticles.
Mulchandani, N. and Karnad, V. (2022), "Application of zinc oxide nano particles using polymeric binders on cotton fabric", Research Journal of Textile and Apparel, Vol. 26 No. 4, pp. 310-322. https://doi.org/10.1108/RJTA-02-2021-0018
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