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A major challenge in nanotechnology is that of determining how to introduce green and sustainable principles when assembling individual nanoscale elements to create working devices. For instance, textile nanofinishing is restricted by the many constraints of traditional pad-dry-cure processes, such as the use of costly chemical precursors to produce nanoparticles (NPs), the high liquid and energy consumption, the production of harmful liquid wastes, and multistep batch operations. By integrating low-cost, scalable, and environmentally benign aerosol processes of the type proposed here into textile nanofinishing, these constraints can be circumvented while leading to a new class of fabrics. The proposed one-step textile nanofinishing process relies on the diffusional deposition of aerosol NPs onto textile fibers. As proof of this concept, we deposit Ag NPs onto a range of textiles and assess their antimicrobial properties for two strains of bacteria (i.e., Staphylococcus aureus and Klebsiella pneumoniae). The measurements show that the logarithmic reduction in bacterial count can get as high as ca. 5.5 (corresponding to a reduction efficiency of 99.96%) when the Ag loading is 1 order of magnitude less (10 ppm; i.e., 10 mg Ag NPs per kg of textile) than that of textiles treated by traditional wet-routes. The antimicrobial activity does not increase in proportion to the Ag content above 10 ppm as a consequence of a "saturation" effect. Such low NP loadings on antimicrobial textiles minimizes the risk to human health (during textile use) and to the ecosystem (after textile disposal), as well as it reduces potential changes in color and texture of the resulting textile products. After three washes, the release of Ag is in the order of 1 wt %, which is comparable to textiles nanofinished with wet routes using binders. Interestingly, the washed textiles exhibit almost no reduction in antimicrobial activity, much as those of as-deposited samples. Considering that a realm of functional textiles can be nanofinished by aerosol NP deposition, our results demonstrate that the proposed approach, which is universal and sustainable, can potentially lead to a wide number of applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14756-14765
Number of pages10
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Volume8
Issue number23
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2016

    Research areas

  • aerosol deposition, antibacterial, leaching test, nanoparticles, textile nanofinishing

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