Water-resistant fabric is essential for manufacturing rainwear to military tents, but these coatings are harmful to the environment. Use of this fabric must be discontinued. If the researchers can find an alternative for these substances usage of these material can be avoidable.
A team at MIT has found a solution – a coating that adds up the water-repellent property to traditional fabric such as silk and cotton. This coating is more effective than existing one. MIT’s paper on the findings is published in the Advanced Functional Materials.
Stringent government regulations to phase out existing waterproof chemicals is a driving force to conduct this study, said Kripa Varanasi, one of the Professor at MIT and lead author of the study. Most fabric that claims to be water repellent, but, in fact, they are water resistant. For instance, if you are standing in rain wearing a raincoat, yet water gets through. If the material is water repellent, the drops must be a bounce back. These new coatings come to a goal, he added.
Because of they accumulate in the environment and body tissues, the Environmental Protect Agency (EPA) is focusing to revise regulations on usage of long-chain polymers as they take time to decompose. However, the industry depended on these standards for a long time due to its durability and extensive applications. These coatings consist mainly of fluorinated sides of long-polymers.
Existing water-repellent coatings are water-based chemicals, in order to make the fabric water-repellent, it has to be submerged in the liquid repellent solution and then dried. This leads to clogging the pores hence, clothes cannot breathe. That requires a second manufacturing step is to blow through the air to open pores of these clothes again. This process adds up the manufacturing cost.