Clothing that can kill viruses and bacteria on contact helps protect the people who protect us but getting that type of protective finish onto the uniforms first responders wear is a big challenge.
University of Alberta, Canada, researchers are now working to make the science behind self-decontaminating fabrics a good fit for the production line.
“We want to take the technology from the lab and scale it up so that it is efficient and compatible for industry-level manufacturing processes, which is a very big step,” said lead researcher Patricia Dolez, a textiles scientist in the Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences.
To make wide-scale industrial production economically feasible, the one-year project focuses on improving the short- and long-term performance of a fabric finish Dolez and fellow researchers James Harynuk and Jane Batcheller are exploring. The work is supported by almost $1 million in funding from the Department of National Defence’s Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security program.
The finish uses N-halamines, compounds that can kill bacteria and viruses quickly and efficiently and can be easily grafted onto textiles.
Once scaled up, it could be applied to protective uniforms for everyone from soldiers and hospital workers to firefighters and paramedics.