Mura, Stefania and Greppi, Gianfranco and Malfatti, Luca and Lasio, Barbara and Sanna, Vanna and Mura, Maria Elena and Marceddu, Salvatore and Lugliè, Antonella Gesuina Laura (2015) Multifunctionalization of wool fabrics through nanoparticles: a chemical route towards smart textiles. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, Vol. 456 , p. 85-92. ISSN 0021-9797. Article.
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A new approach towards the design of smart nanotextiles with innovative properties is presented. Silica (SiO2), titania (TiO2), and silver (Ag) nanoparticles (NPs), were synthesized without the use of any toxic organic compound and then were used, alone and in combination, to functionalize wool fabrics. Electrostatic forces, influenced by a low pH of the solutions, allowed the interactions between wool fabrics and NPs, enabling a robust functionalization. This was verified by X-ray microfluorescence and visualized by scanning electron microscopy measurements. The antibacterial Ag NPs were embedded in a polymer, alginic acid, to reduce the possible side effect due to their direct contact with the skin. SiO2 NPs, instead, were used to change the hydrophilicity of wool while the functionalization with TiO2 NPs was chosen to provide self-cleaning properties. The antibacterial activity of the fabrics was studied against the bacteria Escherichia coli, while the hydrophilicity of wool was studied by contact angle measurements and the self-cleaning properties were tested by estimating the visible discoloring of a dye stain under sunlight irradiation. Interestingly the combination of three different types of NPs provided the best results. SiO2 and Ag made the wool superhydrophilic providing at the same time the best antibacterial properties, while fabrics with titania (alone or in combination) were hydrophobic and showed the best self-cleaning properties.
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