The Warsaw Voice » The Polish Science Voice » Monthly - August 28, 2015
Innovation
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Clothes That Don’t Get Wet
   
In another project focusing on innovative textiles, researchers from the £ód¼ University of Technology have developed special materials that do not get wet because they have a special hydrophobic layer.

The textiles not only stay dry in the rain, but the water rolls off them, washing off any dirt with it and thus making the textile cleaner than it was previously. This self-cleaning property is known as the lotus effect, in reference to the high water repellence exhibited by the leaves of the lotus plant. Dirt particles are picked up by water droplets due to the complex micro- and nanoscopic architecture of the surface, which minimizes adhesion.

In some Asian religions, the lotus is revered as a symbol of purity. The roots of the plant take hold in the muddy bottoms of ponds and riverbeds. From there, thick stems rise above the water’s surface and issue giant, pristine leaves and flowers. The leaves remain clean despite the water and mud on which they rest. Water refuses to stick to the leaves of the lotus plant. Instead, it rolls off at the slightest disturbance.

According to the researchers, materials with such properties are good news for producers and users of specialist clothing, as well as for manufacturers of everyday goods such as upholstery, tablecloths and shoes.

The invention is the result of a zl.1.1 million project called “Innovative textiles with hydrophobic and self-cleaning properties for specialist clothing” and financed by the National Center for Research and Development as part of its IniTech program.