Scientists from IIT Delhi have developed nanocomposite fibres which have unique features of self-cleaning, dyeability, toughness and thermal stability.
Prof. Mangala Joshi, Department of Textile Technology, IIT Delhi, told fibre2fashion, “In our laboratory, we have developed high performance fibres, nanocomposite fibres, based on polypropylene, nylon and polyurethane by incorporating nanoparticles such as nanoclays, carbon nanotubes and titinia nanoparticles.”
“Nanocomposite fibres are a new class of materials with ultrafine dispersion of nanomaterials in a fibre forming polymer,” she informs.
According to the professor, the fibres have much superior properties such as mechanical strength, toughness, thermal stability, electrical conductivity, dyeability, and self-cleaning or antimicrobial, “depending on the type of nanomaterials used such as carbon nanotubes, nanoclays, silica or titanium nanoparticles.”
“A very low loading of nanoparticles is needed to obtain the enhanced properties and the reason is that if nanoparticles are successfully dispersed at nanolevel in the fibre matrix, the interfacial region becomes large due to very high surface area to volume ratio,” she mentions.
When asked about the adverse effect of the new fibres, she says, “Toxicity of nanoparticles is under a lot of investigation and several clinical studies are going on to actually see the adverse effect of either ingestion or inhalation of nanoparticles suspended in water or air respectively.”
“Once the nanoparticles are embedded inside the polymeric matrix as in nanocomposite fibres or strongly bound to the textile substrate in nanofinishing, the toxic effects can be safely avoided for the end users and moreover, all classes of the nanomaterials do not show the same level of toxic effect,” she says.
She quickly adds, “However, handling of nanomaterials should always be done with care and with prescribed safety precautions.”
Informing about the ongoing research, she reveals, “We are currently working on nanocomposite coatings on textile and nanofibres based on polymer nanocomposites for creating functional textiles with improved durability and performance.”
“These will find applications in defence or biomedical sector,” she mentions.