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Protective Kevlar clothing to screen harmful germs
25
Jul '08
Kevlar fabric, the newly developed protective clothing that acts as a fire resistant aiding firefighters, police and emergency, also helps fight germs and harmful microorganisms.

Yuyu Sun and Jie Luo, leading researchers engaged in developing this fabric, coated samples of Kevlar with acyclic N-Halamine, an effective germ-fighting substance, through a special process.

Thereafter, both coated and uncoated samples were tested by exposing them to E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Candida tropicalis (a fungus), MS2 virus, and Bacillus subtilis spores (to mimic anthrax).

After some time it was observed that while large amounts of microorganisms got stuck to untreated fabric samples, the coated fabric showed resistance to all of these infectious agents. It was also found that the coating was long-lasting and does not cause any loss to fabric comfort or strength.

In an exclusive interview with Fibre2fashion, Mr Yuyu Sun, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering Program at the University of South Dakota, asserted, “Kevlar itself is a commercial high-tech fiber developed by Dupont and is the registered trademark for a light, strong para-aramid synthetic fiber, related to other aramids such as Nomex and Technora. Developed in 1965 by Stephanie Kwolek and Roberto Berendt, it was first commercially used in the early 1970s as a replacement for steel in racing tires.

Typically it is spun into ropes or fabric sheets that can be used as such or as an ingredient in composite material components. Currently, Kevlar has many applications, ranging from bicycle tires and racing sails to body armor because of its high strength-to-weight ratio that qualifies it as 5 times stronger than steel on an equal weight basis.”

Mr Yuyu further added saying, “Our study developed a coating process to introduce antimicrobial functions into commercial Kevlar fabrics without noticeably affecting the original physical properties of the fabrics. The new fabrics have the potential to provide multiple protective functions in incidents involving multiple hazards.

Of course, it is still in the developmental stage, and the acceptance of the fabrics in real applications sill needs to be seen after a series of in-use tests. On the other hand, as a researcher at the University of South Dakota, at least at the current time, I am more interested in the science part of the project, and I am not an expert in commercialization.”

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