Give Now  »

Noon Edition

Germ Kill Clothing: Nanotech Couture

Nanotechnology describes the science of using very small-scale materials, like individual atoms and molecules, to build machines and technologies on incredibly small scales.

Nanotechnology is a new science, and many of its most promising applications in medicine, chemistry, engineering, and electronics are still being developed in labs around the world. In many ways, nano-scale technologies are already among us.

Stain Resistant Clothing

There are companies that use nanotechnology to make clothing that resist dirt, stains, and water. Spill a glass of water on a pair of pants coated with water-resistant nanoparticles, and instead of soaking into the fabric, the water beads and slides right off.

Along similar lines, a design student and fiber science professor at Cornell University have teamed up to create several items of clothing using materials coated with nanoparticles of silver.

A Germ Killing Dress?

Silver is a natural antibacterial, and on the nanoscale silver's bacteria killing properties are even more pronounced. A dress containing embedded silver particles can, at least theoretically, kill germs and help prevent colds and other illnesses.

A jacket coated with nanoscale palladium particles can oxidize smog, which could protect the wearer from harmful pollutants in contaminated air. This is just a small sample of the practical ways that nanotechnology can be used. Over the next several decades, it's a safe bet that this science of the very small will have a big impact on our world.

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About A Moment of Science