Fast fashion is leading to a mountain of clothing being thrown away each year and has a huge impact on the environment. In 2020, about 18.6 million tons of clothing ended up in landfill. Clothing is hard to recycle due to its complex nature of materials; it also takes nearly 200 years to decompose in a landfill, during which it releases harmful greenhouse gases.
Thus, designing garments for durability and longevity, as well as using sustainable materials is critical to minimize clothing ending up in landfills.
One of the emerging ways for designing durable textiles is the use of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology can be incorporated in a number of ways in fabric designing, from making engineered fabrics, to creating various repellant technologies.
What are the key sustainability benefits?
Nanotechnology can provide high durability for fabrics, because nano-particles have a large surface area-to-volume ratio and high surface energy, thus presenting better affinity for fabrics and leading to an increase in durability of the function.
They also minimize the increasing clothing waste dumped in landfills, thus reducing GHG emissions.
How does this work?
A nanofiber is produced by the electrospinning method and split spinning process. Nano-fibers possess multifunctional properties such as good filtration, high surface area, high permeability, small fiber diameter, and thin layers.
Nanoparticles of silica incorporated into the weave of a fabric or sprayed onto its surface create a coating that repels water and stain-producing liquids. The angle and roughness of the silica coating creates enough surface tension to ensure that liquids form beads that roll off the fabric rather than soaking into it.