Nano-Tex is one company becoming widely known for its nano-engineered fabrics that repel stains and control moisture levels in a way unheard of a very short time ago. But how exactly do they do such an effective job?
The stain repellent fabrics from Nano-Tex are called, Nano-Care. The Nano-Care fabrics use billions of tiny fibres, each about 10 nanometers long, embedded within traditional materials like cotton or linen. The fibres (called “nanowhiskers") are waterproof and increase the density of the fabric. This increases the surface tension on the outer layer of the fabric so liquid cannot soak through. Nano-Care will last for around 50 home wash cycles before its effectiveness is lost. Unlike treatments like Scotchguarding, which is simply sprayed on the surface, Nano-Care treatments are actually embedded in the products themselves.
Nanotechnology can also be used in the opposite manner to increase the ability of textiles, particularly synthetics, to absorb dyes. Until now most polypropylenes have resisted dyeing, so they were deemed unsuitable for consumer goods like clothing, table cloths, or floor and window coverings. A new technique being developed is to add nanosized particles of dye friendly clay to raw polypropylene stock before it is extruded into fibres. The resultant composite material can absorb dyes without weakening the fabric.