10.6.3.3 Application and perspectives
10.6.3.3 Applications and Perspectives
10.6.3.3.1 Publicly available Nanotechnology-based Consumer Products
Amongst the huge number of scientific publications, patents, press advertisements, projects and products, all dealing with nanotechnology related products, it is useful to determine the true level of transfer to the consumer market of this worldwide nanotechnology effort.
Recent data, from the USA and EU, has provided us with information concerning the consumer availability of products containing nanotechnologies; it should be noted that the data is provisional due to the constant introduction of new items. In spite of this, the data available provides an indication of the repartition of these innovative products in the different consumer product compartments, the relevance of the different producing countries, and of the most widely used nanomaterials.
Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies
The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies was established in April 2005 as a partnership between the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars and the Pew Charitable Trusts . It has produced the first publicly available on-line inventory of nanotechnology-based consumer products.
As of August 25, 2009, the nanotechnology consumer products inventory contains 1015 products or product lines. The inventory has grown by nearly 379 % (from 212 to 1015 products) since it was released in March 2006.
Products have been grouped according to relevant main categories that are loosely based on publicly available consumer product classification systems.
The largest main category is Health & Fitness, with a total of 605 products, followed by Home & Garden (152), Food & Beverage (98), Automotive (68), Electronics & Computer (57), etc.
The sub-categories associated with the largest main category, Health and Fitness, include Cosmetics (137 products), Clothing (155), Personal Care (193), Sporting Goods (93), Sunscreen (33), and Filtration (43). Again, products with relevance to multiple categories have been accounted for multiple times. The Cosmetics, Clothing and Personal Care sub-categories are now the largest in the inventory.
The breakdown of products by region indicates that companies based in the United States produce most of the products, with a total of 540, followed by companies in East Asia (including China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan) (240), Europe (UK, France, Germany, Finland, Switzerland, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, The Netherlands) (154), and elsewhere around the world (Australia, Canada, Mexico, Israel, New Zealand, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, The Philippines, Malaysia) (66).
The most common nanomaterial mentioned in the product descriptions is nanosilver (259 products). Carbon, which includes fullerenes, is the second most referenced (82), followed by titanium (including titanium dioxide) (50), silica (35), zinc (including zinc oxide) (30), and gold (27).
European study of products containing nanoparticles (BEUC & ANEC)
In Europe, BEUC (The European Consumers' Organisation) and ANEC (The European Consumer Voice in Standardisation) have published a non-exhaustive inventory of products claiming to contain nanoparticles that are available on the EU market. . The purpose is to prepare a public debate to gather knowledge about benefits and risks for health and the environment given by such materials.
The study has identified 110 products, divided by sector as follows: Cosmetic products (52); Food products (10); Products used by children (5); Other products (43). Belonging to the last group are some textiles of interest to our report:
• 100% cotton sheet set (AgActive, UK). Sheet able to kill over 99% of bacteria including MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus).
• AgActive Towel (AgActive, UK); Cotton towel treated the silver treatment "SilverSure" to become bacterial and odour free.
• Acticoat antimicrobial barrier dressing (Acticoat, UK), Antimicrobial barrier dressing for use over wounds using the patented silver technology "Sylcryst" nanocrystalline.
• Nanotech Coolest Comfort (Nano-Tex, USA); Fabric that balances body temperature, retains natural softness and breathes naturally.
• Men's no-iron comfort waist plain front chinos (Land's End, UK); Clothing made with Nano-Tex finish that resists spills and wrinkles.
• Solefresh nanosilver Socks (SoleFresh, UK); Non-toxic, non-allergic socks preventing foot odour and some foot diseases.
• Shoes Annapolis (Timberland, USA) Shoes Agion treated footbed to inhibit growth of odour causing bacteria.
From these two studies it can be concluded that textiles is one of the sectors where nanotechnology is having a larger impact. More specifically Sports and outdoors is the segment with more products. It is also clear that nanosilver is the most widely used nanoparticle, with the anti-bacterial property representing the most common functionality provided by nano-enhanced textiles.
10.6.3.3.2 Nanotechnology product applications in medical/healthcare textiles
In the medical/healthcare sector the nanomaterial principally utilised are silver nanoparticles, for their recognised antibacterial activity.
10.6.3.3.2.1 Antibacterial textiles
The applications in the medical sector cover the range of antibacterial textiles with a broad-spectrum of antimicrobial activity and the absence of drug resistance, capable to prevent mite sensitization in atopic dermatitis; antibacterial wound dressings, patient dresses, bed lines or reusable surgical gloves and masks [12, 74, 75]. But they can be extended also to protective facemasks and suits against biohazards  or to toothbrushes .
The need to sanitise clothing, and and many other everyday items, has resulted in the extension of the antibacterial war to many other objects such as sports clothing, domestic and automotive interior textiles, and toys [77, 78]. The antibacterial activity of these textiles is utilised, in particular, to produce anti-odour clothes for the sport/outdoor and furniture sectors . In addition, possible uses of antibacterial textiles are considered for the household products such as kitchen clothes, sponges or towels.
10.6.3.3.2.2 Antimicrobial wound dressings
This is a very important application of nanotechnology in the medical field. Wound dressings are manufactured by means of a bi-layer of silver-coated, high-density polyethylene mesh with a rayon adsorptive polyester core. The dressing delivers nanocrystalline silver from a non-adherent, non-abrasive surface [ 79]. In vitro studies have shown that the sustained release of this ionized nanocrystalline silver maintains an effective anti-bacterial and fungicidal activity [80, 81]. In addition, nanocrystalline silver dressings have been clinically tested in a variety of patients with burn wounds [ 82], ulcers and other nonhealing wounds [ 83] facilitating wound care by adequate debridement, and bacterial and moisture balance.
Wound dressings have been also developed, which combine an electrospun polyurethane nanofibrous membrane and silk fibroin nanofibres [84, 85]. These electrospun materials are characterized by a wide range of pore size distribution, high porosity, and high surface area-to-volume ratio, which are favourable parameters for cell attachment, growth and proliferation. The porous structure is particularly important for fluid exudation from the wound, avoiding wound desiccation, and impairing exogenous microorganism infection.
10.6.3.3.2.3 Anti-adhesive wound dressings
Textile wound dressings such as plasters or bandages find wide range of uses in medical applications to cover wounds until the healing process can protect the wound against external environmental attack. Traditional wound dressings, generally adhere to the healing wound, causing a new injury on removal, and thereby interrupting the healing process. The close control over fibre architecture offered by embroidery is also of potential interest for highly loaded structures, enabling fibres to be placed in the position and with orientations necessary to optimize strength and stiffness locally. The textile surface of these wound dressings is also of importance for comfort and prevention of mechanical irritation
Innovative wound dressings with anti-adhesive properties to the healing wound have been obtained by coating the common viscose bandages with silica nanosol modified with long-chained alkyltrialkoxysilanes. An additional, not secondary, feature of the above innovative wound dressings is their ability in water uptake. Good absorption properties for the wound exudates are of great help to the healing process and are of special value for bedridden patients with chronic wounds.
10.6.3.3.2.4 Product examples
• Acticoat™ (Smith & Nephew plc, UK). Smith & Nephew has created a fast-acting, bacteria-destroying wound dressing. It contains safe bactericidal concentrations of silver with patented nano- crystalline technology.
• Face Masks; (Nanbabies® Face Masks, USA). It works against all types of bacteria and viruses, even killing antibiotic resistant strains as well as all fungal infections. The nano-crystalline silver particles used remains active up to 100 washes.
• Nano Cyclic Towel (NanoCyclic Inc, USA). Super absorbing and antibacterial cloth. It absorbs water and repels germs.
• NanoMask (Emergency Filtration Products, USA). It is the first protective facemask in the world to utilize nanoparticle-enhanced filters to address potentially harmful airborne contaminants.
• Greenyarn produces Eco-fabric which is anti- microbial, anti-static and has other health benefits
• NanoPro Wrist Supporter; NanoProElbow Supporter; NanoProBack Supporter (Vital Age, USA). It helps to increase microcirculation, in the elbow and in the lower back areas to help relieve tired muscles. It utilises an exclusive ceramics compound utilised in the production of all NanoPro products.
• NANOVER™ Wet Wipes - Safe to use for children’s toys Soft like cotton, protect babies’ frail skin Low irritative natural ingredients protect and moisturize your skin, and prevent skin trouble Cleans hands and around lips (GNS Nanogist Co. Ltd)
10.6.3.3.2.5 Medical Smart Textiles
Textiles provide an excellent substrate for integration with electronic devices, including sensing, monitoring and information processing tools, able to react to the conditions and stimuli, like the mechanical, thermal, chemical, electrical, transmitted by the wearer. [ 86]
The healthcare field could take advantage of these smart textiles to provide for a patient’s extended monitoring during a long rehabilitation perios [ 87, 88]. In this field a new class of electrically conductive material, called Quantum Tunnelling Composite (QTC) is being produced by the UK based Peratech [ 89]. QTC has the unique ability to smoothly change from an electrical insulator to a metal-like conductor when placed under a pressure; these features will find a number of medical applications including blood pressure control, respiratory monitoring, and sensing in prosthetic socket.
10.6.3.3.3 Nanotechnology product applications for the sport/outdoor sector
Apart from the application of smart textiles as futuristic aids for the improvement of the sport performance, that will be dealt with later, many are the interventions of nanotechnology in the production of sport/outdoor clothing. Here we have included some of the currently available products, grouped according to their main functionality.
10.6.3.3.3.1 Stain Resistance / Water repellence
Stain resistant and water repellence finishing is probably the largest nanotechnological application in textiles. Its market is no longer considered as niche, since its request is not limited to the sport/outdoor clothing, but extends also to work, casual, and evening wear. The desired textile performance has been obtained by different technological approaches, such as coating with perfluorochemicals, silica nanoparticles, carbon nanotubes, or with the dirt destroying photocatalyst TiO2.
• Hi-tech Ion-mask – Technology: Plasma Ion mask (P2i)
• Nike Lunar Wood TZ – Technology: Plasma Ion mask (P2i)
• Ecco Biom running shoe – Technology: Plasma Ion mask (P2i)
• Magnum boots - Technology: Plasma Ion mask (P2i)
• Adidas Golf shoes - Technology: Plasma Ion mask (P2i)
• New Balance Performance Outerwear vintage-inspired Circa-V outerwear line – Technology: NANOTEX outdoor (NANOTEX)
• Odlo Jacket – Technology: water resistance (HeiQ)
• Cloudveil Switchback jacket – Technology: Lotus effect - Nanosphere - (Clariant - Schoeller)
10.6.3.3.3.2 Antibacterial / Odour Control
Odour control in sport/outdoor clothing is an important topic. Such control can be achieved in different ways, such as by covering up the odour with a fragrance, by removing the odour molecules as they are formed, or applying an antimicrobial finishing.
• In the first approach, odours are covered with fragrances by means of microcapsules containing fragrances that can be applied to the fabric to provide a slow release over time.
• In the second approach are used cyclodextrines. These are compounds with a peculiar structure characterised by a hydrophilic surface and a hydrophobic cavity. The odour molecules, being hydrophobic, become trapped in the cavities of the cyclodextrine and are removed during laundering.
• In the third approach the problem is paced at its root. Being odours formed as result of bacterial growth, the application of antibacterial finishing to the fabric is able to prevent bacterial growth and consequently the odour formation. This topic has been previously treated in the Medical Textiles chapter.
• Puckskin - Bamboo Athletic Socks / Short Sleeve Top / Long Sleeve Top / Long Pants / Sleeveless Top
• Extera Taekwondo Uniform – Culture Maker Corp.
• Wigwam socks – Technology: Smart silver (NanoHorizons)
• AgActive Antibacterial Socks
• Greenyarn's socks – Eco-Fabric (Greenyarn)
• Funtional sport wear – Sinotextiles Co.Ltd.
• Lexon Nano-Silver Sock
10.6.3.3.3.3 Moisture management
Synthetic fabrics and resin treated (e.g. to become wrinkle free) are hydrophobic; however, by nanotechnological treatment these fabrics become able to absorb moisture, pulling away perspiration from the body and allowing the wearer dry and comfortable.
• Adidas Yocum activewear line - Technology: NANOTEX coolest comfort – (NANOTEX)
• Plasma Mec (MECTEX)
• CW-X Compression support socks - Technology: Healtha+® (Ventex)
10.6.3.3.3.4 Strength / wear resistance
Adidas Nanotech Shoe .The Lone Star is the world's first asymmetrical 400m spike, featuring the first ever full-length carbon nanotubes reinforced plate.
Conducting textile platform based on novel e-fibres.
The presented prototypes are coated yarns, fabrics or simple garment containing the coated fibres to demonstrate electric conductivity whilst maintaining an original haptics. A low-pressure plasma sputtering process is used to coat a 100-200 nm thick metal coating on common monofil- or multifil- yarns, which thereby do not change their properties, but become reliably conductive for low-current signals; this includes audio signals, computer interfaces (e.g. USB), low current supply, or, dissipative heating .
Smart Textiles for Sport Clothing
In addition to the above features finalised to increase the athlete's comfort, the sport garments are asked to be equipped also with sensors to provide information about the athlete's physiological conditions (physical abilities, training status, athletic potential and responses to various training regimens) .
Strain sensors, made from piezoelectric materials may be used to detect posture, improve movement performance and reduce injuries . The stress and strain applied to the fabric by the athlete's movement will affect the conductivity, allowing the monitoring of body kinematics [92-95].
Examples of such applications are: a garment for the athlete’s kinesthetic monitoring, developed at the University of Pisa, for the detection of posture, improvement of movement performance, and reduction of injuries ; an Intelligent Knee Sleeve, developed at the University of Wollongong and CSIRO, for the monitoring of the wearer's knee joint motion during jumping and landing to reinforce the correct landing technique ; a sensor applied close to the athlete's rib cage for the breathing monitoring, or in smart insoles for the monitoring of plantar pressure [ 96, 97]. The integration of chemical sensors into textiles for the analysis in real time of the sweat composition is also an appealing prospect .
ObservatoryNano - Technology Readiness Level (TRL)
1ObservatoryNano: 1-Basic Research; 2-Applied Research; 3-Prototype; 4-Market entry; 5-Mature market
With the purpose of acquiring information on the development trends in nanotechnology-related textiles in the medical/health care and sport/outdoor sectors, we have performed some interviews, and circulated a short questionnaire to academic and industrial expert of the sectors.
The questions asked and the opinions received from eight experts are summarized as follows.
1. The perspective development of nanotechnologies scored (in a range between 1 = nil, and 4= excellent), 3.5 for the medical/healthcare and 3.1 for the sport/outdoor sectors.
2. The most promising fields of applications of nanotechnologies were suggested as:
a. for the medical/healthcare sector, antibacterial textiles; wound care dressing; drug controlled delivery; multifunctional sensors and biosensors; tissue engineering;
b. for the sport/outdoor sector, garments protecting against weather; thermoregulated, antiodour, breathable and low friction coefficient textiles, anti ageing textiles.
3. The most important advantages deriving from the application of nanotechologies were:
a. for the medical/healthcare sector, miniaturization; reduction of raw materials and energy expenses; very high surface/volume rarios allowing increased reactivity; bacterial shielding; increase of sensor sensitivity; customized drugs;
b. for tthe sport/outdoor sector, oleo-hydro repellency; self cleaning and antifouling activity; increase of comfort; increase of mechanical performance.
4. The most important barriers to the application of nanotechnologies both in the medical/healthcare and the sport/outdoor sectors were: fear of the impact of nanoproducts on the human health; lack of regulation; reduced tendency to innovation; difficulty in large scale production; high interdisciplinarity needs of competencies.
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