Multifunctional properties via special coating

Smart textiles coated with functional particles derived from sustainable sources that can block both UV and EM.

Coated fabrics show 99.9% UV blocking and 99.9% attenuation of EM waves (−30 dB for a four-layer stack). Image source: congerdesign - Pixabay (symbol image).

Of late, there is a substantial demand for the development of multifunctional materials and hence they have allured enormous interest in every other application possible. With the threat of escalating electromagnetic (EM) pollution, there is a strong need to develop materials and strategies to curb it. Textiles have been used as promising candidates for electromagnetic waves, particularly in the microwave frequency ranges, due to their various advantages in terms of flexibility, lightweight and conformability in comparison to the existing materials. Further to this, there is an inherent advantage of creating multiple interfaces for microwave attenuation on coating textiles with functional coatings.

Scientists now report the preparation of a multifunctional coating that is based on iron titanate and multiwalled carbon nanotubes (CNT) which can shield both microwaves and UV radiations. The iron titanate used is sourced from a sustainable precursor, ilmenite sand, while the CNT is commercially sourced.

Huge potential

The coated fabrics show a 99.9% attenuation of the incident EM signals. Further, there is a jump in conductivity of around four orders in magnitude for the coated fabric in comparison to the neat fabric. It is worth to note that the coating also confers an ability to block 99.9% of the UV radiation over the wavelength ranging 200–400 nm. Furthermore, the prepared coatings significantly improve the flame retarding properties of the neat fabric. These coatings have – according to the researchers – the huge potential to significantly enhance the commercial value of cotton fabrics without adding much to its cost.

The study has been published in Progress in Organic Coatings, Volume 159, October 2021.

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