Realizing that nanotechnology has potential to up the value of traditional textiles by providing unique and new properties and functionalities to the textiles, NANOTEC-NSTDA established a pilot plant for transferring nanotextile technology. The pilot plant offers textile nanofinishing services based on NANOTEC’s advanced R&D in developing coating and finishing processes. At present, five finishes are available:
- Perfume Finish. Nanoencapsulation technique is employed to control the release of fragrance when fabric is exposed to UV radiation or rubbed against the skin. There are several fragrances to choose from such as lemongrass, lavender, jasmine and rose. Various creative products can be developed from this treatment such as insect-repellent school uniform with lemongrass fragrance, rose-fragrance shirt for Valentine’s Day and jasmine-fragrance blouse for Songkran Festival.
- Anti-UV Finish. This property reduces damage to fabrics and color fading caused by UV rays. The finish is perfect for fabrics used in outdoor items or items constantly subject to sunlight such as canopy, outdoor furniture and curtain.
- Softening Finish. Soft fabrics not only provide comfort, but also are less prone to wrinkling. This fabric treatment can be applied to varieties of products, especially those that require special comfort such as pajamas and bed linen.
- Antibacterial Finish. Imparting antibacterial property onto fabrics is achieved by using compounds with high photocatalytic activity to dissolve the organic substances that come into contact with fabrics and inhibit bacterial growth of both Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria which are the cause of unpleasant odors and some diseases. Products that can benefit from this finish include nurse uniforms, socks and athletic apparel.
- Water Repellent Finish. Water repellent property is achieved by reducing surface tension of fabrics. This finish can be applied to products prone to liquid spillage or water exposure such as sofas, aprons, coasters, umbrellas and bags
According to NANOTEC Deputy Executive Director Dr. Pavadee Aungkavattana, all five finishes can be achieved in one single process and can be applied to both fibers and fabrics depending on the need of clients. The pilot plant is designed for SMEs and small business operators that do not want to invest in establishing their own facility for nanofinishing, as well as large enterprises that would like to test the production line or new products. Number of clients is expected to double this year as the products with new properties and functionalities are in high demand.