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Antimicrobial Textiles


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this research is to develop durable, scalable, robust and effective long-term antimicrobial textile finish. DESCRIPTION: There is a continuing need for antimicrobial textiles to provide a range of capabilities to the DOD. These include improved hygiene for soldiers via integration into uniforms to control odor; in medical textiles to control the transmission of pathogenic bacteria in field medical shelters and military hospitals. The goal of this topic is to identify light-weight, durable, antimicrobial finishes for textiles such that no degradation of other properties (e.g., porosity, mechanical properties) occurs. This is an important component in the overall strategy for improving soldier performance, and the development of Smart Textiles. Research will focus on developing and optimizing catalytic antimicrobial systems for direct integration into fabric for clothing, shelters, etc. The resulting technology should be easily integratable into fabric weaving and manufacture, and scalable to a high through-put process, allowing large volumes of fabrics to be treated. PHASE I: Initial research will focus on chemical functionalities that can be applied as a fabric finish to provide high antimicrobial activity. Key functional properties that need to be addressed include non-leaching behavior of the coating, and an assessment of antimicrobial activity against Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria. Application of the finish must not lead to significant degradation of other properties (i.e., porosity, dyeability, printability, durability, mechanical strength, flexibility). PHASE II: In this Phase, the process and characterization should be expanded to include cotton, polyester, and nylon and polyaramid textiles. Antimicrobial activity must be determined for coatings on all fiber types. Uniformity of the finish on each type should also be demonstrated. Textile properties should be determined using reliable metrology, and under typical conditions encountered by Soldiers and after multiple laundering cycles. The final coating and textile must be characterized to provide data on the extent of coating coverage, functional group density, coating adhesion, and antimicrobial activity and lifetime. PHASE III: This technology will have both DoD and civilian applications, including antimicrobial textiles, anti-infective wound dressings, hospital textiles, bedding, wipes, HVAC filters, and medical devices.
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