Israeli textile innovator Nano Textil, based in Ramat Gan, Israel, and affiliated with Bar Ilan University, announces the development of technology that transforms any kind of fabric into an antibacterial textile; the technology placed second in the recent China Medical Tech Competition.
Because it can permanently prevent the growth of bacteria on both natural and synthetic fibers, the technology can help contain the spread of hospital-acquired infections and reduce cross-contamination between patients and medical staff.
Through sonochemistry, a method to coat surfaces with nanoparticles, zinc oxide is formed in a solution that is applied to the textile’s surface. During the sonochemical process, molecules undergo a chemical reaction due to the application of powerful ultrasound radiation. The physical phenomenon responsible for this process is acoustic cavitation, during which bubbles are formed in the liquid and continuously grow until they reach a maximum size in which they collapse. When a bubble collapses near a solid surface, microjets of the liquid are formed moving at a very high speed. These microjets throw the newly formed zinc oxide at such a speed that it makes them adhere to the surface.
The colorless zinc oxide will not change the appearance of the fabric, which can withstand up to 65 wash cycles at 92 degrees C and up to 100 wash cycles at 75 degrees C, beyond the standard requirements of medical facilities, without losing their antibacterial properties.
Patented in the U.S. and Israel and awaiting approval in Europe and Asia, the technology was developed by Aharon Gedanken of the department of chemistry at Bar Ilan University, with funding of 12 million euro ($13.6 million) from the European Union’s FP7 research-grant program.