On Wednesday, July 15th, Drs. Andrew Dent and Gayatri Keskar discussed what’s new in the world of materials – and how it has changed in the last few months.
Dr. Keskar shared the emerging technologies that will shape the new now and offered examples of materials that are brands looking to as consumers rethink all aspects of everyday life.
Our experts focused on three overarching trends: ‘Sustainability vs. Safety’, ‘The New Rules for Physical Interaction’, and ‘Home Base’. Here, they respond to the questions that came in during the conversation.
To provide context the replay is included here.
What is the wash durability of fabrics treated with micro encapsulated active ingredients?
Dr. Keskar: It depends on various parameters, including the base substrate. In some cases, it can last through 40 high-intensity wash cycles.
Re: NitroPep – Process requires removal of all hardware / high touch surface to send for high pressure treatment – or is the application process mobile?
Dr. Keskar: It is recommended to treat the material (metal or plastic) before using it in the hardware or high touch surface, but it is possible to apply it on existing PPE or parts that can be easily removed and refitted. It cannot be retrofitted, or the application process is not mobile. That said, the company is working on producing films that can be put on top of various surfaces. Here a link to their recent BBC radio podcast for more information.
What type of materials can NitroPep be applied to? Metallic, polymeric, ceramics, and glass?
Dr. Dent: Metals and plastics.
I imagine a significant number of people would be concerned about the privacy issues and tracking potential that Tic Tag and other similar technologies present. Even if they can assure privacy or anonymity, there’s always the risk of the system being hacked. Any thoughts?
Dr. Dent: Any new digital web-based technology has the potential to be hacked, so yes, this should be of major concern to the developers. My assumption is that if we can protect banks and government databases as well as keep the tracking of our phones to just those we want to know; they can likely do the same for this. Or at least they should be!
Dr. Keskar: In case of TicTag, the company is using LTO Network public blockchain technology for verification and security of IoT data. Blockchain adds another layer of protection and has been used widely in products or technologies, providing more control and assurance.
How is the TicTag related to Materials use?
Dr. Keskar: It is a technology-driven approach with a physical smart tag that can be attached to various surfaces.
What is the highest temperature the NitroPep can hold?
Dr. Keskar: The company haven’t necessarily tested that yet, but the application survives being autoclaved at 121oC.
Curious if designers, brands and retailers are contacting MCX regarding how to develop materials for future collections that combat the virus. In the HeiQ webinar the speaker discussed the use of silver and cooper fibers in materials they are creating.
Dr. Dent: Very much so! We have been getting a lot of calls on exactly this issue. There are different needs depending upon the application, so we have been recommending different technologies and materials. Silver and copper work well. There are also some zinc technologies. We have seen these metals as additives to plastics and coatings, or as treatment onto the surfaces of products too.
What sort of “gas” is used to sanitize the textiles in the Sanibox?
Dr. Keskar: Ozone-based advanced oxidation process along with humidity control is used for sanitization.
Does the Sanibox kill viruses like COVID-19?
Dr. Keskar: Yes. The technology has a 98% sanitization level and is certified by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and in compliance with AFNOR NFT 72-281, the standard method for verifying the effectiveness of airborne surface disinfection systems.
In addition to antibacterial and sustainability, what are the other fabric trends that became prominent due to pandemic?
Dr. Dent: Wellness, as highlighted in the R-vital fabric presented has been of interest, where vitamins, skin enhancing chemicals and other treatments are used to add value.
What is the role of fabric aesthetics in new now as more people tend to work from home?
Dr. Dent: I still think we are going to want to look good, but certainly there has been an increase in ‘casualness’ in clothing over the last few months! We don’t yet know if this will translate into changes in aesthetics when life goes somewhat back to normal. Comfort in clothing (the athleisure trend) has been expanding for some time now.
What are the cost implications of using compatibilizers?
Dr. Keskar: One of the challenges of developing compatibilizers for the recycling market is added cost. Fortunately, it allows the use of less-expensive raw materials and does help improve mechanical and optical properties of the recycled material for potential applications in high value products. Thus, helping expand the ability to cost-effectively recycle post-consumer plastic that used to go to waste.
Can we recycle contaminated surgical masks using ReVive compatibilizer?
Dr. Keskar: ReVive is specially designed for recycling of multi-material PE film structures containing Nylon or EVOH, typically found in packaging. Depending on the composition of different components of face masks, different grades or types of compatibilizers can be used.
Is mining copper earth safe?
Dr. Dent: Yes and no. It certainly affects the surrounding area and can render large swaths of land uninhabitable for a long period of time. The amount of copper we can now get per tonne of excavated earth is much lower than it was, so it will only get more disruptive. But the actual mining process is safe. We should be recycling as much as we can and using renewables whenever possible.
What would be the end of life options for a material like Hemp Black, one with so many layers and infusions?
Dr. Keskar: The Hemp Black amount in the infused yarns/fabrics such as recycled PET or nylon is relatively quite small and doesn’t affect the recyclability of the end product as long as it is not further blended with other synthetic fibers.
HEMP: Antimicrobial or antibacterial? Very different properties.
Dr. Keskar: Hemp has antimicrobial properties.
Thank you for joining us for this session of Materials for an Extreme Future. Your participation, questions, and feedback have offered wonderful insight for all in attendance.