Technological advancement has played a significant influence on a shift in the focus of many fashion labels in recent years, as more and more labels continue to push boundaries in providing clothing that effectively performs its purpose, be it to make a statement in forms of cutting edge designs or to maximize comfort in using quality fabrics or even simply keeping the wearers dry in rainy weather conditions. Well, in this case the latest news on the development of nanotech fabric technology has revealed a innovative break-through in water repellent fabric.
“Lead researcher Stefan Seeger at the University of Zürich says the fabric, made from polyester fibres coated with millions of tiny silicone filaments, is the most water-repellent clothing-appropriate material ever created.
Drops of water stay as spherical balls on top of the fabric (see image, below) and a sheet of the material need only be tilted by 2 degrees from horizontal for them to roll off like marbles. A jet of water bounces off the fabric without leaving a trace.
The secret to this incredible water resistance is the layer of silicone nanofilaments, which are highly chemically hydrophobic. The spiky structure of the 40-nanometre-wide filaments strengthens that effect, to create a coating that prevents water droplets from soaking through the coating to the polyester fibres underneath.
“The combination of the hydrophobic surface chemistry and the nanostructure of the coating results in the super-hydrophobic effect,” Seeger explained to New Scientist. “The water comes to rest on the top of the nanofilaments like a fakir sitting on a bed of nails,” he says.
A similar combination of water-repelling substances and tiny nanostructures is responsible for many natural examples of extreme water resistance, such as the surface of Lotus leaves.
The silicone nanofilaments also trap a layer of air between them, to create a permanent air layer. Similar layers – known as plastrons – are used by some insects and spiders to breathe underwater.”
The superior water-repelancy of the fabric has been implied that you can completely submerge the nanotech fabric into a bathtub, pull it back out in two months and it would be as dry as the day you put it in (Any fun experiments come to mind?) .
While we’ve already seen many labels adopt the technological approach in sportwear design the likes of Nike Sportwear’s Storm-fit, and the ultra popular Gore-tex collaborations, this latest report shows that nanotechnology fabric may be closer than we think, in the meantime, we can only hope for the day when nanotech fabric will become available for our everyday use.
Read more about this amazing fabric at NewScientist HERE.