Discipline: Technology and Engineering
Subcategory: Materials Science
Lihong Lao - Cornell University
Co-Author(s): Liling Fu, Cornell University ; Genggeng Qi, Cornell University
For more than two decades in the apparel industry, there has been consistently high demand of wrinkle-free cotton garments for easy care and comfort. Conventional wrinkle-free finishing is based on the crosslinking reaction between molecular chains of cellulose via formaldehyde derivatives such as dimethyloldihydroxyethyleneurea (DMDHEU). DMDHEU reacts with the hydroxyl (-OH) groups in cotton, which increases wrinkle-resistance and shape retention. However, the finishing reduces the hydrophilicity of the fabric due to the reduction of the number of OH groups; consequently, the moisture sorption capacity and wicking properties are reduced, resulting in a deterioration in the comfort of cotton fabric. Therefore, recovering the hydrophilicity of wrinkle-free finished cotton has very significant practical value.
We demonstrate in this study, a wrinkle-free, superhydrophilic, cotton fabric (contact angle 0o) by attaching specially engineered nanoparticles to plasma pre-treated cotton fabric. Because of their charged nature, the nanoparticles are firmly anchored on the fabric via electrostatic interactions; the surface structures were confirmed by image and chemical analyses. The durability of wetting behavior and wrinkle-free property of the NP-coated fabrics was evaluated via aging, laundering and abrasion tests. The strongly attached coatings are stable maintaining their superhydrophilic nature even after 60 days’ aging and 50 laundering cycles. The nanoparticle-coated fabric also combines superhydrophilicity with very good wrinkle-recovery property, mechanical property and abrasion resistance (25,000 abrasion cycles) performance.
As a conclusion, a new approach to endow durable superhydrophilicity to wrinkle-free cotton fabrics is reported. We have developed the process through a combination of plasma treatment followed by attachment of charged silica nanoparticles. Future research direction will be focused on improving the handling properties of the fabrics.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): This work was supported by TAL Apparel Limited through its founding membership fund for Cornell Institute of Fashion & Fiber Innovation (CIFFI). This work made use of the Cornell Center for Materials Research Facilities supported by the National Science Foundation under Award Number DMR-1120296. This work also made use of Center for Nanomaterials Engineering & Technology at Cornell University.
Faculty Advisor: Jintu Fan, email@example.com
Role: The experimental parts: Surface treatment of the wrinkle-free cotton fabrics ; All different characterizations (e.g. chemistry, morphology and physical properties) of the treated fabrics