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How to manufacture Nanotechnology textiles?

How to manufacture Nanotechnology textiles is the third post in the series nanotechnology in the fashion industry and will discuss how Nanotechnology applied to textile fibres. One of the most important and advanced parts of developing garments is called surface design. A considerable amount of research is taking place in the field of surface modification of textiles for improving properties and processes. Nevertheless, most conventional methods such as wet processing of textiles are often harmful to the environment and also resource-demanding, especially when it comes to watering.

In the future, such processes probably not accepted by neither consumer, green organisations nor brands due to the growing concerns for global warming and demand for environmentally friendly consumer products. Nanotechnology was first applied to fabrics by a former polymer chemist Dr David Soane around 1998 when his team managed to replicate the natural water-repellency of plant surfaces and animal coats. The company is known as Nanotex.

Other achievable new function’s Nanotechnology can provide:

  • ultra-strength
  • ultra-durability
  • flame resistance
  • self-cleaning capability
  • modifiable colour
  • antiseptic
  • self-repairing
  • anti-odour
  • anti-reflective
  • UV protective
  • Heat reductive
  • water repellent
  • censoring

Nanotechnology cannot exist without Nanoscience

At the Nanoscale material properties can behave very different, unexpected or even in a novel way than at the macro scale, this is the core and the most fundamental learning. Nanotechnology is characterized by design, manufacture (synthesis) and application of Nanomaterials and nanostructures in advanced macro- and micro-systems. The core of scientific innovation is happening with structures and materials from a sub-atom metre to many micrometres (hundreds of nanometers).

Morphology fibre. Illustations Kenneth Buddha Jeans

Nanometrology of surfaces

Nanotechnology measurement tools and future standardisation methods are under pressure as demands for extremely precise and new ways to measure material phenomena at the nanoscale is required for Successful implementation of nanotechnology. One of the important developments that are simultaneously happening is the ultra-important Nanometrology Scanning Probe Microscope (SPM) or preferably called Nanoscope (Ultra-microscope). Nanoscope makes it possible to further develop Nanomanufacturing in the direction of bottom-up and self-assembly techniques in the production of Nanomaterials.

Nanotextiles fibrous structures with Nanofibres, Nanomaterials, and Nano finishes incorporated into them by various methods. These Nanomaterials serve as the foundation for developing higher-order structures such as fabrics and composites. Nanotechnologies in textiles classified into:

  • Non-functionalised textile products
  • Functionalised and finished textiles
Nanomaterials Overview
Graphics Kenneth Buddha Jeans Nanomaterials overview

What is Nanomaterials?

Nanomaterials generally characterised as materials with dimensions of 100 nm or less, in one or two directions of the material. At such small scales (and particularly less than 10 nanometres) fibre morphology, chemistry and other materials are not independent of Nanoscales. Depending on surface roughness, texture and cut produce very different and unforeseen results. Therefore, an improved and more dynamic measurement methodology is likely to become increasingly valuable, time-saving, and as the process together with materials structure as an integrated part of Nanometrology.


Nanometrology of textile fibre morphology, surface design, and interactions applying Nanomaterials by various methods such as coating, electro-spinning, sprays are extremely challenging due to its complexity and therefore, in many cases require completely different approaches. Nanomaterials fabricated from multiple substances where each presents a set of unique properties and domains such as shape, structure, geometry, surface size, and topography.

Graphics Kenneth Buddha Jeans Surface modifications techniques

Fibre morphology and surface modification of textiles

Nanofabrication involves a wide range of surface modification procedures that are important in many different areas. The key for successful nanofabrication of textiles depends increasingly on fibre morphology and research into textile surface properties. The main reason for applying Nanotechnology in surface modification for textile applications is that Nanomaterials can give brand-new dimension to textiles by having multi-functionality. Since the surface modification of textiles in aqueous solutions touches almost all important sectors in the textile industry, surface modification research and the industry shares the market trends and innovations.

Modification of the surface to improve the properties of fibres is a tremendous growth sector within textile development now and the next years ahead, and the growing use of nanotechnology in modifications will furthermore expand this field. This fast progression of many aspects of science and technology into the nanoscale realm, therefore, inherently results in the greater importance of surfaces in determining the behaviour of Nanoscale devices and material phenomena. See also Fibre morphology in the Eco-Fashion Encyclopedia.

Surface modifications of textiles

Textile surface modification and fibre morphology play and the significantly important part when adding nanomaterials to textiles, fibre morphology; one thing is the need for acceptable strength and fibre stability to be useful. Nevertheless, the basic requirements for fibre used in textiles are fineness and length. In general, the most well-known type of fibre is usually -categorised into four groups depending on their properties: Textile surface design in the Eco-Fashion Encyclopedia.

  • Natural fibres
  • Regenerated fibres
  • Synthetic polymers
  • Organic and inorganic fibres

Besides, and more importantly, several fibres got thermal, biological and other advanced properties used in various applications such as medical textiles, smart textiles, protective applications etc. Other issues can be significantly important when incorporating nanomaterials are fibre form, surface hairiness, dyeability and moisture absorption, in spite of well-known is the consequence of geometry that the surface/volume ratio of an object increase as the object becomes smaller.

Absorb moisture

The relationship between fibre and its ability to absorb moisture is useful for clothing comfort or even more important if non-absorbing. Absorbed moisture also supports electrical conductivity and disperses static electricity, which alternatively demands the use of anti-static finishes. When self-cleaning textile was developed based on the “lotus effect, the basic correlation between textile constructions, surface topographies and wetting behaviour after water-repelling functional was understood. Earlier research, for example, shown that wetting behaviour is considerably impacted by topography, which results from weave and type of yarn.

Yarn type such as filament yarn or staple fibre decides the extent to which water drops roll-off textiles. It is well-known that long, protruding fibres, such as occur with escalating regularity in-ring yarn samples, prevent water drops from rolling off. High fibre density of short protruding fibre such as in the case of nonwovens, promote rolling off simply because they present a smaller surface area to the water drops. Therefore, self-cleaning fibre determined by the ability of water drops to access dirt particles. Thus, good water-repellent behaviour, which results from the hairiness of the sample, does not automatically guarantee excellent self-cleaning behaviour, more on self-cleaning later in the post and next).

Manufacturing of Nanotechnology textiles

To manufacture Nanotextiles materials mixed into the fibre structure. There are several ways to integrate Nanoscale controlled properties, for example, incorporation of Nanomaterials into fibres on the fabric surface level or give the fibre itself a Nanoscale by novel ways of fibre spinning. These new methods make it possible to spin fibre with a diameter between 20 and 500 Nanometres. It is 10-500 times thinner than traditional spinning technology. A lot of innovative ways to make textiles lies outside what regarded as Nanotechnology since the fibre diameter between 100-500 nanometre; however, most books on Nanotechnology textiles include such research of nanofibres.

Google Art Nanotechnology in the Fashion Industry? Visual Geometrics and Patterns Research

Visit Google Art & Culture Nano inspired visuals found in the world of art, patterns, repetitions, structures and geometrics recognised in the natural world. It gives an idea of the structures in Nanotechnology and the invisible world

Sources and Useful Information
  • New Millennium fibres by Tatsuya Hongu, Glyn O. Phillips, and Machiko Takigami. Published 2005 by Woodhead Publishing Limited
  • New product development in textiles Innovation and production, edited by L. Horne. Published 2012 by Woodhead Publishing Limited
  • Handbook of nanoscience, engineering, and technology, editors William A. Goddard, Donald Brenner, Sergey E. Lyshevski, Gerald J. Iafrate. Published 2007 by CRS Press.
  • Nanofibers and nanotechnology in textiles, edited by P. J. Brown and K. Stevens. Published 2007 by Woodhead publishing limited
  • Textile design principles, advances, and applications edited by A. Briggs-Goode and K. Townsend. Published 2011 by Woodhead Publishing Limited
  • Molecular manufacturing for clean, low-cost textile production David R.Forrest, Naval Surface Warfare Center, West Bethesda, Maryland USA and Institute for Molecular Manufacturing, Los Altos, California USA
  • Advances in polymer nanocomposites types and applications, edited by Fengge Gao. Published 2012 by Woodhead Publishing Limited
  • Modelling Nanoscale Imaging in Electron Microscopy, editors Thomas Vogt Wolfgang Dahmen
  • Optical biomimetics, Published 2012 by Woodhead Publishing Limited
  • Fabrics and new product development Woodhead Publishing Limited, 2012
  • There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom Richard P. Feynman 1959. Feynman’s talk here
  • “Institute for molecular manufacturing” href=”” target=”_blank”>Institute for Molecular Manufacturing
  • Woodhead Publishing Limited
  • K E Drexler Website
  • Nano investments gov.
  • Feynman’s talk Feynman’s talk here
  • Textile Future Vimeo Video
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