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American Chemical Society's Weekly PressPac -- Feb. 6, 2008
Date:2/11/2008


http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jf071993o

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Ronald L. Prior, Ph.D.
United States Department of Agriculture Arkansas Childrens Nutrition Center
Little Rock, Ark., 72202
Phone: 501-364-2747
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ARTICLE #4 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Toward self-cleaning wool and silk fabrics
Chemistry of Materials

Wool skirts and silk ties may avoid those pricey trips to the dry-cleaner in the future and clean themselves, researchers in Australia and China suggest in a study scheduled for the Feb. 26 issue of ACS Chemistry of Materials, a bi-weekly journal. It reports development of a nanoparticle coating that could lead to self-cleaning wool and silk fabrics.

Wool and silk, which are composed of natural proteins called keratins, are among the most prized and widely used fabrics in the clothing industry. However, they are difficult fabrics to keep clean and are easily damaged by conventional cleaning agents. A better way to fight stains in these and other protein-based fabrics is needed, scientists say.

In the new study, Walid Daoud and colleagues prepared wool fabrics with and without a nanoparticle coating composed of anatase titanium dioxide, a substance that is known to destroy stains, dirt, and harmful microorganisms upon exposure to sunlight. The researchers then stained the fabric samples with red wine. After 20 hours of exposure to simulated sunlight, the coated fabric showed almost no signs of the red stain, whereas the untreated fabric remained deeply stained, the researchers say. The coating, which is non-toxic, can be permanently bonded to the fiber and does not alter its texture and feel, they note. MTS

ARTICLE #4 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Self-Cleaning Keratins

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Contact: Michael Bernstein
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202-872-4400
American Chemical Society
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