It's not just Hollywood stars hitting the cream carpet. A new coating of invisible glass sprayed on your cream carpet could make that French Beaujolais easy to clean with just water. The revolutionary technology termed liquid glass can protect almost any surface in seconds - from hospital equipment, medical bandages to ancient monuments. When coated, all surfaces become protected against dirt and bacteria.
This means your car, house, oven and even your wedding dress can become stain resistant. But this is more than just a textile and hard surface coating - because it is safe to use with food, the company say that vines can be coated with the glass coating so they don't suffer from mildew, and coated seeds can grow more rapidly without the need for anti-fungal chemicals. Neil McClelland, the UK Project Manager for Nanopool GmbH who developed the technology, described the research results as stunning. "Items such as stents can also be coated, and this will create anti sticking features - catheters, and sutures which are a source of infection, will also cease to be problematic."
According to one leading newspaper at least one maker of up-market bags and coats is already negotiating a deal to treat their products before they leave the factory and Turkish scientists are conducting tests on liquid glass on important national monuments in Turkey.
The spray on glass is 500 times thinner than a human hair and creates an invisible barrier to liquids and dirt. When asked about how the technology works, McClelland said "In essence, we extract molecules of SiO2 (the primary constituent of glass) from quartz sand, and then we add the molecules to water or ethanol." There are no added nano-particles, resins or additives - the coatings form and bond due to quantum forces.
This isn't the first time nanotechnology has been used in textiles. Usually water based cleaning agents or a mild solvent is required to remove any stains once the coating has been applied. Californian company Nano-Tex who provide nanotechnology based textile enhancements, plan to open a new R&D centre in China early this year.
The first large area installation for nanotechnology treated upholstery was at the Toyota Centre, home of the NBA's Houston Rockets.
It is predicted that the use of nanotechnology in interior textiles will grow as more finishes are developed - especially those with positive environmental features - meaning lower costs for end users.
For more attend Printed Electronics Europe 2010.