Wear and tear could be a thing of the past with clothes self-healing themselves even while being laundered.
Isn’t it annoying when you get a tear in your favorite pair of jeans? Well scientists may have come up with an amazing solution that will mean never having to throw them away, sew them up or start patching them up.
A team of scientists from Pennsylvania State University have come up with a novel way of dealing with rips and tears in clothing through looking and mimicking squid proteins. This could mean clothes could knit themselves back to health, claims the research.
Clothes are coated in polyelectrolytes created from bacteria and yeast. This contains negatively and positively charged polymers similar to that found in hair proteins and in the teeth of squid rings, according to a report in CS Monitor.
By dipping the coated material in warm water, and holding the tear together, the fabric will start to self-heal. This will even work if the protein mixture is spot-dripped onto the tear or hole but it could potentially be already pre-coated into fabric before the clothes are bought at the store.
“Fashion designers use natural fibers made of proteins like wool or silk that are expensive and they are not self-healing,” said Dr. Melik C. Demirel who was involved in the research. “We were looking for a way to make fabrics self-healing using conventional textiles. So we came up with this coating technology.”
If that wasn’t enough, the team say the clothes will in effect, heal itself while being laundered and the thin coating could even protect wearers from harsh chemicals that could rub onto the skin.
The team say it was inexpensive to produce and is barely detectable on the clothing making it a simple and effective way to save clothes from the rubbish bin and allow us to wear them for longer – discarded clothes is currently a huge global issue.