Gajendra Kumar Tyagi* and Amit Madhu
The Technological Institute of Textile & Sciences, India
*Corresponding author:Gajendra Kumar Tyagi, The Technological Institute of Textile & Sciences, Birla Colony Bhiwani-127021, India
Submission: July 27, 2023; Published: August 07, 2023
ISSN 2578-0271 Volume9 Issue1
In recent years, nanotechnology has revolutionized various industries, including textiles. Nanotechnology enhances textile properties, leading to the development of smart and functional fabrics. This overview explores diverse nanotechnology applications in textiles, such as nano coatings, nanofibers, Nano sensors, and nanoparticles for eco-friendly and energy-harvesting textiles. We also discuss the significant impact of nanotechnology on adding value to textile products. Furthermore, we address potential challenges and future directions for further research and development in this exciting field.
Keywords:Nanotechnology; Nano coatings; Nanofibers; Eco-friendly; Energy-harvesting textiles
Nanotechnology has transformed, offering enhanced functionalities and improved performance . Nanomaterials, with particle sizes between 1 to 100 nanometres, possess extraordinary properties due to their high surface area and quantum effects. Common nanomaterials in textiles are nanoparticles, nanofibers, and nanocomposites [1-3]. To incorporate nanoparticles into textiles, various techniques are used. Electrospinning, a recent method, is favoured for creating nanofibers [4,5]. Coating technologies involve applying organic and inorganic compound-based nanoparticles (e.g., Copper, Silicon, Copper oxide, Titanium dioxide (TiO2), Graphene oxide. etc.) directly through printing, spray coating, or impregnation techniques [2-4]. These nanoparticles add antimicrobial, ultraviolet resistant, electrically conductive, optical, hydrophobic and flame-retardant properties to textiles and garments [3,5]. Additionally, nanomaterial- based smart devices are integrated into textiles for functions like energy harvesting and storage, sensing, drug release and optics [4,6]. These advancements find wide applications in the fashion industry and are being developed for defence, healthcare and on-body energy harnessing applications [3,6].
Nanofibers for improved strength and comfort
Nanotechnology has revolutionized the production of nanofibers, which are extremely thin fibres with diameters in the nanometre range. These nanofibers possess unique properties, including a high surface area-to-volume ratio, exceptional strength, and breathability . Integrating nanofibers into textiles enhances their mechanical properties without sacrificing flexibility or comfort , resulting in lighter, more flexible designs with improved protection and performance . Moreover, nanofiber-based textiles contribute to sustainability by reducing material usage and waste . One application of nanofibers is in the field of composites, where carbon nanofibers (CNFs) are utilized as reinforcing agents. This application is especially prevalent in industries like aerospace and automotive, where CNF composites offer superior strength-to-weight ratios, making them ideal for light weight and high- strength applications . In sportswear, nanofibers, derived from synthetic polymers are incorporated to enhance mechanical properties. This allows sportswear to withstand repeated stretching and movement during physical activities . The breathable and moisture-wicking characteristics of nanofiberbased fabrics ensure that athletes stay comfortable and dry during workouts, offering superior wearing experience [1,10].
During the COVID-19 pandemic, nanofiber-based face masks gained attention for their excellent filtration efficiency. Electro spun nanofibers made from polymers like polypropylene create a dense network of ultrafine fibers that effectively trap airborne particles, including viruses and bacteria. These masks provide improved protection and comfort due to their lightweight nature and breathability, making them more comfortable to wear for extended periods . In the medical field, nanofiber mats made from biocompatible materials like chitosan, collagen, polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) are used for wound healing. These nanofibers wound dressings offer improved comfort and accelerated healing compared to traditional dressings , as they provide a porous and scaffoldlike structure for cells to adhere and proliferate . Nanofiber filters are extensively used in air purifiers and water purification systems. The fine pores of nanofibers efficiently capture particulate matter, bacteria and viruses, leading to superior filtration efficiency . These filters provide cleaner air and water and require less pressure for filtration, resulting in enhanced energy efficiency and improved user comfort [7,15]. Additionally, nanofibers can also be incorporated into adhesives and coatings to improve their mechanical properties. Nanofiber-reinforced adhesives offer stronger bonding between materials, leading to increased durability and comfort in products like footwear, electronics, and automotive components .
Nano coatings for enhanced performance
Nanotechnology in textiles primarily focuses on nano coatings, which are ultra-thin layers of nanoparticles applied to textile surfaces to enhance specific properties. These coatings offer various functionalities [5,14], making textiles safer, more durable, and suitable for a wide range of applications [7,8,17].'
Water Repellency and Moisture Management: Nanocoatings can create hydrophobic surfaces that repel water and stains, benefiting outdoor clothing, sportswear and upholstery . Nanoparticles like fluorine, silicones, ZnO, silver, Carbon nanotubes (CNT) etc. result super hydrophobicity in materials while maintaining breathability [18-20]. Thus, super hydrophobicity can be achieved by properly treating fibres with nanoparticles, without sacrificing the comfort, softness, or durability of textiles .
Antibacterial and Antimicrobial Properties: Nanocoatings with antimicrobial properties inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi on textiles, making them valuable in medical textiles, sportswear, and clothing worn in humid environments, reducing infection risk and Odors [22,23]. Active nanomaterials can be integrated chemically or physically into fabrics to create antibacterial textiles  and a variety of techniques, including electrospinning, nanoprecipitation and self-assembly can be implemented for their application . Face masks built of nanomaterial have drawn a lot of interest since the COVID-19 outbreak. Researchers have developed antiviral face masks and PPE kits using nanomaterials to combat infections like SARS-CoV-2 [11,25]. They contend that metallic nanoparticles like Ag, Cu, TiO2 and others might take the place of traditional disinfectants such chlorides, quaternary amines, peroxides, and alcohols because of their better antiviral characteristics .
Ultra-violet Protection: Nanomaterials like TiO2 and ZnO [27,28] can scatter or absorb UV radiation, offering UV-blocking properties to protect wearer from harmful ultraviolet radiation. It is simple to use TiO2 nanoparticle as UV blocker on cotton and ZnO nanoparticles as UV scatter layer to cotton and polyester [12,29]. This feature is crucial in protective gear, swimwear, and outdoor clothes [30,31].
Flame Retardancy: Nanocoating enhances the fire resistance of textiles, making them self-extinguishing or slowing down flame spread. These flame-retardant nanocoated fabrics are used in industrial workwear, home textiles, and automotive interiors to improve safety [24,32]. The sol-gel process has been explored to produce efficient flame-retardant fabrics through various synergistic effects [28,33]. In summary, nanocoatings in textiles offer water repellence, antimicrobial properties, UV protection and flame retardancy, enhancing the functionality and safety of various textile products.
Nanotechnology has revolutionized textiles with the integration of nano sensors, enabling them to sense and respond to environmental changes. These smart textiles can adjust their properties to regulate body temperature, change colors based on light intensity, and detect various factors like temperature, humidity and pressure . This innovation has opened opportunities in healthcare, sports and fashion, enhancing comfort, performance and aesthetics. Carbon-based nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes (CNT), graphene and carbon nanofibers are extensively used for their application as light weight, flexible and high strain sensors [35-37]. Temperature and humidity sensors are also incorporated into textiles using advanced techniques like photolithography and inkjet printing [38-39].
The introduction of sensors and actuators in the textile industry relies on the conductive properties of the material. Conductive yarns are now replacing traditional warp threads to establish connections between sensors within the fabric . Conducting polymers nanostructured polyaniline (PANI), (PPy) and polythiophene (PT) are the widely used in the textile industry due to their enhanced mechanical strength, optical and conducting characteristics in the synthetic fibers. Additionally, conductive nanomaterials like Graphene , carbon nanotubes (CNT)  are incorporated into fibres to produce electro-conductive textiles for various electronic applications.
Colour changing textiles
Nanoparticles play a significant role in developing colorchanging textiles that respond to changes in pH, temperature, or light. Textiles can sense changes in temperature or light intensity. Textiles can sense variations in temperature or light intensity through photochromic and thermochromic polymers. Textiles can sense variations in Retroreflective ink-printed fabrics are widely used in security gear . These smart textiles also incorporate electroluminescent wires, fluorescent fibres, optical fibres, and photonic band gap fibres, enabling diverse functionalities like temperature monitoring, humidity sensing, pressure, optical displays, data transfer, and communication in complex textiles .
Sustainability in textiles with nanoparticles
Nanotechnology presents an opportunity to create ecofriendly textiles that benefit both consumers and the environment by addressing textile waste and its environmental impacts. Nanoparticles can reinforce textile fibers, improving durability and reducing the need for frequent replacement, thereby reducing waste generation and conserving resources. Nanotechnology also allows for precise application of coatings, reducing excess material usage during production, Additionally, innovative nanomaterial synthesis processes enhance energy efficiency and minimize environmental impact in textile manufacturing. Researchers are developing eco-friendly nanoparticles derived from natural sources that can degrade safely in the environment, minimizing potential hazards associated with traditional nanoparticles [1,4].
Current challenges and future perspectives
The integration of nanotechnology in the textile industry has ushered in a new era of innovative and high-performance fabrics. However, these advancements come with environmental challenges that necessitate a careful and responsible approach to ensure sustainable practices. Nanoparticles used in textiles can pose potential environmental challenges at various stages of their lifecycle [1,21]. Some key concerns include potential toxicity and Pollution during manufacturing, difficulties in end-of-life disposal, and increased resource consumption in nanoparticle production. To ensure environmental sustainability, responsible practices must be adopted throughout the entire lifecycle of nanoparticle-treated textiles. This includes prioritizing eco-friendly nanoparticles, employing environmentally friendly manufacturing processes, conducting thorough life cycle assessment and fostering collaboration and research on sustainable nanotechnology.
Nanotechnology has revolutionized the textile industry by providing opportunities for value addition and the development of innovative fabrics. Nanocoatings have provided fabrics with enhanced functionalities, nanofibers have improved strength and comfort, nanosensors have given rise to smart textiles, and nanoparticles have contributed to the development of eco-friendly and sustainable textiles. Moreover, the integration of nanotechnology has paved the way for advancements in wearable electronics and other cutting-edge applications. As the textile industry continues to leverage nanotechnology for progress, environmental sustainability must remain a primary concern. By incorporating responsible practices, using eco-friendly nanoparticles, promoting efficient manufacturing, and adopting circular economy principles, we can create textiles with nanotechnology that are both highperforming and environmentally friendly. Collaboration, research, and adherence to regulations will be key in shaping a sustainable future for nanotechnology in textiles.
© 2023 Gajendra Kumar Tyagi. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and build upon your work non-commercially.