Textiles are all around us. We use them to cover ourselves, to shield ourselves from the elements and to adorn ourselves. The textile is a component of our basic needs much like food and shelter. Textiles also have a limited shelf life. As our bodies and fashions change, so do the clothes we wear.
In the early conception of the textile industry, our sources of raw materials came from either plants or animals. As the textile industry advanced, so did the raw materials we came to use to clothe and cover ourselves.
The word ‘textile’ has its origins in Latin word for ‘woven’. As textiles themselves are too fragile and too perishable to survive across millennia, the tools that were used for spinning and weaving make up most prehistoric evidence for textile working.
In recent decades, nanotechnology has significantly improved the textile industry. The unique properties of nanomaterials are used in an efficient manner by textile engineers and scientists.
While the application of nanotechnology is particularly suited to the medical industry and the military; nanofabrics have gained enormous attention in the commercial market for their huge number of benefits.
Nanotechnology–which is also called molecular manufacturing–is a branch of engineering that deals with the design and manufacturer of extremely small electronic circuits and mechanical devices built in at the molecular level of matter.
At the start of the millennium, many clothing companies started incorporating silver nanoparticles into their products. Silver nanoparticles are antimicrobial, which means they can kill the bacteria that cause bad odours. By incorporating these nanoparticles into fabric to prevent odour, our clothes need to be washed less frequently.
In recent years, nanotextiles are being used primarily for the fabrication of high-performance outerwear and stockings.