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A new wave of fashion has hit the market and it marks the culmination of science, technology, and clothing to make fashion more sustainable, efficient, and clean.
With the use of nanotechnology in clothing, textile makers are able to create enhanced clothing unlike anything the industry has seen. This is creating a smoother and safer user experience for the consumer and also helping the environment at the same time. Companies are hopping on nanotech to make their clothes more user-friendly as well as create garments that are more powerful.
The question now is, what is nanotech and what makes it so special?
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There are several different types of nanoparticles added to clothing including:
Silver nanoparticles are used in clothing for their unique and powerful ability to eradicate bacteria and fungi and to moreover, prevent nasty odors caused by this bacteria.
The particles release positively charged ions that stop bacterial cells from functioning properly thus removing them from the picture. To make things better these silver particles are so tiny in size that the garment stays soft and wearable.
Nanoparticles of silica incorporated into fabric or sprayed onto its surface creates a shield which protects the garment from stain-producing liquids and even repels water. The roughness of the silica coating produces enough surface tension to make the liquid beads roll off the surface of the garment rather than soaking into it.
This is the holy grail of nanoparticles which prevents the nasty sunburn you sometimes get through your clothing. The particles of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are sowed into textiles to protect the clothing and more importantly the skin from sun damage. The particles work by scattering the ultraviolet light produced by sunlight which causes the nasty burns.
Now to tackle the static problem. Many garments especially those made out of polyester or nylon tend to gather static which causes the crazy hair and the unusual stickiness of clothing to your skin. However, nanoparticles like zinc oxide and titanium oxide, and antimony-doped tin oxide conduct electricity and can help disperse the charge thus preventing the bad hairs days and clinginess of clothing.
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This conjunction of science, technology, and fashion has proven to be so immensely valuable for the production of protective clothing. This is especially helpful not only for the common person, but for emergency workers and frontline workers.
The result of using these particles has made clothing durable and more tolerant of extreme weather conditions. Therefore increasing the toughness and resistance of fabrics and making the clothing itself smarter!
It’s clear that the use of nanotechnology in clothing sounds amazing but let’s check out the technology in action and how startups are emerging in this new crossover industry.
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BT is a California-based startup that specializes in harvesting synthetic spider silk used as an alternative material in clothing. Spider silk is much stronger than steel, but also much softer making it super easy to spin into yarn and create durable clothing. So far their spider silk is being used by outdoor apparel companies to make extra durable camping gear, however as they get more funding it would be possible to start using spider silk in other types of clothing as well.
Similar to BT, this Japanese startup also produces spider silk, however in quite the opposite way of their competitor. Spiber’s manufacturing process is based around molecular design and gene synthesis that allows for the creation of a more diverse range of substances. While the company currently operates in the automotive and apparel industries, they are looking to expand to healthcare, construction, and aerospace.
This Swiss-based startup has created an electronically controlled active membrane which transports moisture very effectively and efficiently. Their creation is called HYDRO_BOT and is taking the clothing world by storm. They operate in sports, work, and protective clothing that all utilize the HYDRO_BOT to release moisture at the same rate that humans sweat, even under super challenging or strenuous activity.
The manipulation of matter using nanoparticles has changed the way humans operate using advanced clothing. In fact, they can actually make bedsheets that always stay fresh and you can buy them from Amazon. This new and innovative way will soon change the way we function as a whole and increase our working efficiency, making fashion even more essential and helpful.