A team of scientists at the Deakin University has successfully managed to replicate the lotus effect for making self-cleaning layering for fabrics. The clothes with the layering will be more stain-offensive rather than stain-resistive. There have been several other studies in super-hydrophobic technology. But the one from the researchers at the university’s Australian Future Fibres Research and Innovation Centre is entirely different, because the fabrics with the layering are far more durable.
Scientists have been ever excited of the natural super-hydrophobic surfaces, like the lotus leaves and gekko's super-dry and sticky feet. But the efforts to artificially reproduce the technology in clothes and other fabric materials haven’t been much successful. It is here Tong Lin and team has developed the new trick of using a multi-layered covering, whose layers would quickly repel the dirt, water and other substances away under the UV light.
The method makes use of a layer-by-layer (LbL) deposition technique in order to form a steady covering of silica nanoparticles. It exchanges the negatively and positively charged layers of a substance for self-cleaning. The nanoparticle layers are smeared to the fabric through the repeated dipping of the item into a solution. The output fabric of the complicated process will drive back water, dust, solvents and other substances once exposed to UV light.
The technique can even be applied on regular clothes and it will be highly useful in producing antibacterial coatings and clothes for medical use, says Tong Lin. It is quite simple to produce and it even allows coating on irregular materials which have tough surfaces, he adds. Yan Zhao, Xungai Wang and Zhiguang Xu are other members of the study team.