Scientists have invented the possible precursor to self-cleaning clothes by coating cotton cloth with titanium dioxide nanoparticles, about 2,500 times smaller than a human hair.

Scientists have invented an efficient way to coat cotton cloth with tiny particles of titanium dioxide. These nanoparticles are catalysts that help to break down carbon-based molecules, and require only sunlight to trigger the reaction. The inventors believe that these fabrics could be made into self-cleaning clothes that tackle dirt, environmental pollutants and harmful microorganisms.

The titanium dioxide particles covering the cloth are just 20 nanometres across, about 2,500 times smaller than the width of a human hair. The researchers’ key breakthrough was to ensure that these particles had exactly the right arrangement of atoms, called an ‘anatase’ crystal structure, which has previously been difficult to achieve in such tiny grains. This arrangement boosts the particles’ catalytic power.

The researchers, Walid Daoud and John Xin from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, dipped cotton patches into a liquid slurry of titanium dioxide for just half a minute before removing them, padding them dry, and heating them to 97 °C in an oven for 15 minutes. Three hours in boiling water completed the coating process…..

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