Self-Cleaning Fabrics

University of California, Davis researchers developed fabrics that can clean itself when exposed to light. It can get rid of pesticides by breaking down the toxic chemicals and get rid of bacteria by killing it. The new fabric is made from cotton.

Ning Liu reached the new fabric as a doctoral student in the textile and fabrics division in the UC Davis. The new fabric could be very helpful in the farms, food processing plants and of course for military purposes.

Liu developed a method to incorporate a compound known as 2-anthraquinone carboxylic acid, or 2-AQC, into cotton fabrics. This chemical bonds strongly to the cellulose in cotton, making it difficult to wash off, unlike current self-cleaning agents. Unlike some other experimental agents that have been applied to cotton, it does not affect the properties of the fabric.

When exposed to light, 2-AQC produces so-called reactive oxygen species, such as hydroxyl radicals and hydrogen peroxide, which kill bacteria and break down organic compounds such as pesticides and other toxins.

Although 2-AQC is more expensive than other compounds, the researchers say that cheaper equivalents are available.

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