Surfaces showing photo-catalytic activity

Actual project

Textiles cleaning themselves have been unthinkable several years ago. Photo-catalytic materials promise a solution. Oxides as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide show the so-called photo-catalytic effect. Different highly active species develop at the material’s surface if irradiated with ultraviolet radiation. Such species – e.g. oxygen or hydroxyl radicals ‑ are able to decompose soil. As an example a wine stain on a shirt will bleach within a short time if the textile is irradiated by sun-light – ideally if the bleaching will be completed no staining will be observed after a while. The challenge is in the development of active material and in the durable deposition, e.g. at the surface of a textile without weakening the activity. Nanoparticles promise a high activity due to its enormous surface area and due to the small particle size without imparting the surfaces appearance after application ‑ which is important for textiles! A challenge is as mentioned the durable deposition on a textile material since the photo-catalytic effect will not differentiate between soiling and textile material. An ideal finishing has to guarantee a fast removal of any organic soiling and simultaneously it has to guarantee a protection of the fibre material against degradation by the reactive species developed during irradiation. If this can be guaranteed self-cleaning textiles as roofings, marquees or convertible soft tops are only three of the possibly interesting products.

Project funded by financial support of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

contact: Dr. Torsten Textor, Tel.: +49 2151-843-159,