Ripped clothes and the laborious process of fixing them may soon be a thing of the past thanks to new self-healing coating technology for fabrics. Scientists developed a very simple way to repair torn clothes using this material. You only have to add water and a patch of the fabric that sticks together with the rest of the clothing.
A research team from Pennsylvania State University has not developed a new type of fabric besides the traditional ones like wool and silk, just a new coating technology that when it is applied on regular materials, it enables them to stick together when they come in contact with water. Although the binding of the two layers of fabric is not entirely seamless, since in the in the experiment you can see the more pronounced stacked layers, the fabric does indeed hold, its flexible and strong and won’t rip after it dries. Researchers said that it even held up in the washing machine.
According to Melik C. Demirel, a professor of engineering science and mechanics at Penn State:
“We were looking for a way to make fabrics self-healing using conventional textiles. So we came up with this coating technology.”
The self-healing coating was derived from squid ring teeth, which are made from a unique protein with the ability to transition from a solid to a rubber and can even be shaped in any form when heat is applied. Scientists manage to unravel the genetic code of these unique proteins to replicate them in a lab. From there they developed a polyelectrolyte coating made from both positively and negatively charged polymers. This difference in the polarity allows the fabric on which the self-healing coating has been applied to stick together.
Thought most people can’t help but get excited about the idea of not having to deal with rips and tears on clothing anymore, the technology is still far-off from being available commercially. The researchers developed it with certain applications in mind such as creating self-healing suits to protect users from chemical and biological agents, in biomedical plants and other specialized uses. An overall advantage of this type of fabric is that biopolymers are a more ecological alternative to synthetic plastics. Researchers have a number of ideas, but they require more research.
Do you think this self-healing coating is the future of clothing?
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