CycloPure announces bonding of Adsorbent Polymers into Textiles
CycloPure, Inc. announced on November 16, 2016, a major advance in its breakthrough adsorption technology – the ability to bond its polymers into textiles. Using this process, the company is now able to infuse its highly adsorbent materials into textile fibres to functionalise fabrics
As first reported in the January 14, 2016 edition of Nature, CycloPure has developed proprietary materials with superior adsorption that rapidly remove pollutants and other contaminants in the treatment of water.
The functionalisation of fabrics greatly expands the use of the company’s adsorption technology to remove VOCs and contaminants from water and air, enabling the development of innovative textiles and fibre materials, such as water purification membranes, odour controlling fabrics, respirators and other protective materials. The nature of the augmented fabric is unchanged, and can be used with existing manufacturing techniques and equipment.
The functionalisation process was developed at Cornell University in a collaboration between the Dichtel Lab, led by CycloPure’s co-founder Will Dichtel, and the Textiles Nanotechnology Laboratory, led by Juan Hinestroza. Details were presented in a paper “Cotton Fabric Functionalized with a -Cyclodextrin Polymer Captures Organic Pollutants from Contaminated Air and Water”, published online in Chemistry of Materials, a leading journal in polymer and materials chemistry. The article is available here
“We are very pleased with this latest innovation,” commented Will Dichtel, the company’s Chief Science Officer. “The ability to functionalize fabric with our adsorption technology will usher in a new era of innovative textiles.”
In the fabric study, cotton was functionalised in a single step process which fused the cotton fibers together with the company’s adsorption materials. When tested for uptake of pollutants in water and air, the polymerized fibres outperformed untreated cotton fabric and other commercial absorbents by a magnitude of ten-fold.
“One of the limitations of superabsorbents is they need to adhere to something that can be manufactured,” said fibre expert Hinestroza. “Fibers are perfect for that.”
Hinestroza believes the potential for novel adsorbent fabrics to be profound, and noted several factors that should make this functionalized fabric technology attractive to industry.
“The functionalised fabrics are compatible for use with existing textile machinery – this is critical to making use of the materials commercially feasible,” he said. “We can functionalize natural and synthetic fabrics, with effectiveness in both air and water. The materials are easily regenerated, allowing for reuse.”
Professor Hinestroza stressed the importance of the ability to rapidly capture VOCs from air, citing the potential for innovative textiles such as odour adsorbing curtains and fibre based respirators and protective clothing that can remove toxic solvents and chemicals from air.
Hinestroza is hopeful that these new materials will be used to improve certain industrial practices. He noted that a lot of pollution is generated at textile plants overseas, with waste products from dying and other processes often being discharged directly into the air and waterways. Adding, “How appropriate that we have a developed a technology to create fiber materials which can be used to remove toxic byproducts created in the manufacture of textiles.”
Research reported in the Chemistry of Materials article was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, and also made use of the Cornell Center for Materials Research Shared Facilities, which is supported by the NSF’s Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers program.
CycloPure was formed to commercialize novel adsorption technologies pioneered in the lab of Will Dichtel at Cornell University. Dr Dichtel is the Robert L. Letsinger Professor of Chemistry at Northwestern University, and heads the Dichtel Research Group in the University’s Department of Chemistry.
Using these technologies, CycloPure is developing a new class of highly adsorbent and sustainable materials for rapid removal of micropollutants from water. The company’s water treatment technology can be incorporated into a variety of filtration products for domestic, industrial, hospital and municipal applications, including purification and conditioning. CycloPure is also developing the technology for use in functionalized fabrics to remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other contaminants from air.