Navigation Links
Developing 'second skin' military fabric to repel chemical and biological agents
Date:11/27/2012

AMHERST, Mass. Military uniforms of the future may offer a new layer of critical protection to wearers thanks to research by teams at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and several other institutions who are developing a nanotube-based fabric that repels chemical and biological agents.

UMass Amherst polymer scientists Kenneth Carter and James Watkins, collaborating with team leader Francesco Fornasiero of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), recently received a five-year $1.8 million grant to design ways to manufacture the new material as part of a $13 million project funded by the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency. It's estimated that the new uniforms could be deployed in the field in less than 10 years.

The researchers say the fabric will be able to switch reversibly from a highly breathable state to a protective one in response to the presence of the environmental threat without the need for an external control system. In the protective state, the uniform material will block the chemical threat while maintaining a good breathability level. "The uniform will be like a smart second skin that responds to the environment," says Fornasiero.

UMass Amherst polymer scientists bring expertise in additive-driven assembly processes that bring polymers and nanoparticles together to produce hybrid functional materials to the project. Membrane and layer fabrication will take place in part through the university's Roll-to-Roll Nanofabrication Laboratory.

The new fabric's reversibility is due to highly breathable membranes with pores made of a few-nanometer-wide, vertically-aligned carbon nanotubes modified with a functional surface layer designed to respond to the presence of a chemical warfare agent, says Watkins at UMass Amherst. The threat response would be triggered by direct chemical warfare agent attack. The fabric would switch to a protective state by closing the pore entrance or by shedding the contaminated surface layer.

For wearer comfort and safety, high breathability is a critical requirement for protective clothing to prevent heat stress when military personnel are engaged in missions in contaminated environments. To provide high breathability, the new composite material will take advantage of the unique transport properties of carbon nanotube pores, which offer gas transport rates two orders of magnitude faster than any other pore of similar size.

The polymer scientists point out that biological agents such as bacteria and viruses are close to 10 nanometers in size. Because the membrane pores on the uniform are only a few nanometers wide, these membranes will block such agents.

However, chemical agents such as mustard gas and nerve gas can be much smaller and require the membrane pores to be able to react to block that threat. To create a multifunctional membrane, the research team plans to modify the surface of the original prototype carbon nanotube membranes with chemical threat responsive functional groups. These functional groups sense and block the threat like gatekeepers on entrance.

The scientists also plan to develop a second, "shedding" response scheme in which the fabric exfoliates upon recation with a chemical agent. In this way, the fabric will be able to block chemical agents such as sulfur mustard (blister agent), GD and VX nerve agents, toxins such as staphylococcal enterotoxin and biological spores such as anthrax.

Carter at UMass Amherst says, "Mimicking the way real skin responds to threats by exfoliation and shedding of contaminated areas will allow for a dynamic responsive garment, all achieved through controlled chemical reactions in this new advanced fabric."

Tracee Harris, science and technology manager for the Dynamic Multifunctional Material for a Second Skin Program, says, "Development of chemical threat responsive carbon nanotube membranes is a great example of a novel material's potential to provide innovative solutions for the Department of Defense CB needs. This futuristic uniform would allow our military forces to operate safely for extended time periods and successfully complete their missions in environments contaminated with chemical and biological warfare agents."


'/>"/>

Contact: Janet Lathrop
jlathrop@admin.umass.edu
413-545-0444
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Family history of liver cancer increases risk of developing the disease
2. Research4Life greatly expands peer-reviewed research available to developing world
3. Medbox Developing a Patent Pending Wall-Mounted Biometric Kiosk for Storage of Sensitive Medicine Samples and Supplies for Doctors Offices.
4. Agricultural expert outlines path for developing nations to double food production, meet 2050 demand
5. VTT and GE Healthcare developing novel biomarkers to predict Alzheimers disease
6. UMass Amherst biochemists developing tools to stop plague and other bacterial threats
7. Developing world has less than 5 percent chance of meeting UN child hunger target, study estimates
8. Developing policy on moving threatened species called a grand challenge for conservation
9. UC Riverside developing biofuel formulations for California
10. Students create low-cost biosensor to detect contaminated water in developing nations
11. Risk of developing diabetes higher in neighborhoods that arent walk-friendly: Study
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Developing 'second skin' military  fabric to repel chemical and biological agents
(Date:2/8/2017)... , Feb. 7, 2017 Report Highlights ... billion by 2021 from $8.3 billion in 2016 at ... 2016 to 2021. Report Includes - An overview ... global market trends, with data from 2015 and 2016, ... 2021. - Segmentation of the market on the basis ...
(Date:2/7/2017)... 2017 Ipsidy Inc. ( www.ipsidy.com ... IDGS], ("Ipsidy" or the "Company") a provider of secure, ... is pleased to announce the following changes as part ... January 31, 2017, Philip D. Beck was ... President.  An experienced payment industry professional and public company ...
(Date:2/3/2017)... 2017 A new independent identity strategy consultancy ... (IdSP) . Designed to fill a critical niche in ... founding partners Mark Crego and Janice ... in identity expertise that span federal governments, the 9/11 ... Crego-Kephart combined expertise has a common theme born from ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/16/2017)... DIEGO , Feb. 16, 2017  Dermata ... innovative products to treat a variety of dermatological ... million Series 1a financing and entered into a ... (SVB).  Dermata intends to use the capital for ... making major advancements in the treatment of serious ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... ... February 16, 2017 , ... AxioMed announced today the ... Harvard trained surgeon, completed the procedure on Monday, Jan. 30 at Andrews Memorial ... physician suffering from degenerative disc disease with radiculomyelopathy, as a result of degenerative ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... 16, 2017  Rhythm, a biopharmaceutical company ... that result in life-threatening metabolic disorders, today ... mezzanine round of financing with existing investors ... New Enterprise Associates, Pfizer Venture Investments, Third ... investment fund. Rhythm will use the proceeds ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana (PRWEB) , ... ... ... a division of Albany Molecular Research Inc. has further extended its industry ... sector. This service offers state-of-the-art cGMP techniques and methods for the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: