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Madhurima Gupta, Ashmita Das and Sangeetha Subramanian*

Department of Biotechnology, School of Biosciences and Technology, VIT University, India

*Corresponding Author:
Sangeetha Subramanian

Received Date: 03 October, 2017; Accepted Date: 22 December, 2017

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In recent years attention has been towards the development of smart textiles with superior characteristics and enhanced durability. To cater the needs of high sustainable textiles, application of nanotechnology has been introduced in textile industry with promising achievement. Titanium oxide nanoparticle is one such material which could be applicable in textile industry, whose photo-catalytic activities have been widely investigated owning to its high stability and low toxicity. This paper enlists various applicative properties of titanium oxide nanoparticles and its implementation in the textile industry, especially to woollen fibres for advanced applications.


Photo-catalysis, wool, Titanium oxide, Textile industry


The textile industry is no longer a mere supplier of fabrics, rather it is now evolving as a positive force that can help in the development of the society. Technology has made it possible to manufacture fabrics that have a potential to revolutionize our lives. Today the textile industry seeks innovations which can improve daily life, benefit the industry and health sector and adhere to eco-friendly norms. One such step towards development is development of fabrics that can clean themselves as well as purify water by using nothing but the sun as an energy source. This is possible by application of TiO2 nanoparticle coating onto the fabric.

Titanium oxide (TiO2) is a naturally occurring oxide of titanium, also known as Titania. The powdered ore of Titania is white in colour and is widely used as a pigment in paint and food industry after suitable purifications and modifications. The photo catalytic properties of TiO2 was first discovered by Akira Fujishima in 1967 (Fujishima and Zhang, 2006). In recent years a lot of interest has been shown in the photo-catalytic potential of Titania due to its variant properties. Titania’s photo-catalytic potential increases ten folds when used in nanoparticle form due to enhanced surface properties and the several utilities linked to this property in TiO2 has been illustrated below (Fig. 1). Photo-catalysis is a phenomenon where light acts as a catalyst to drive the reaction forward. In case of TiO2 nanoparticle the photo catalytic activity is observed under UV spectrum (100nm-400nm) and the UV irradiation causes movement of positive holes and negative electrons, which have oxidising and reducing effects, respectively (Fujishima and Zhang, 2006; Nakajima, et al., 2000). On one hand, holes oxidise water to hydroxyl (OH) ions, which are capable of manipulating configuration of dyes and other organic pollutants; while on the other hand electrons reduce oxygen molecules to superoxide radicles, which decompose harmful microbes, dirt, stains, etc (Ramasundaram, et al., 2016; Pelaeza, et al., 2012).


Fig. 1 Utility of the photo catalytic effect of TiO2.

Thus, the application of TiO2 nanoparticle onto a fabric, imparts properties such as self-cleaning, anti-aging, UV protection, antimicrobial, etc (Pekakis, et al., 2006; Johnson, et al., 2008; Munafò, et al., 2014). In this article, we shall be focussing on the applications related to wool fibres. Wool, a widely used fibre in the textile industry, is acclaimed as a natural composite fibre with astounding manipulative chemical and physical properties, such as warmth, resiliency, fire-resistance etc. These properties are controlled by both chemical composition as well as structural configuration of the fabric (Li, et al., 2014; Quagliarini, et al., 2012; Behzadnia, et al., 2014) (Fig. 2).


Fig. 2 Represents the various applications of immobilized TiO2 on wool fiber.

However the wool fabric still has a number of limitations; low photo-stability, photo-yellowing, decomposition due to certain insects, microbial susceptibility, etc. (Mura, et al., 2015; Montazer and Pakdel, 2010; Periolatto, et al., 2013). These problems can be solved to a great extent by TiO2 immobilization (Yang, 2013; Kubacka, et al., 2014; Gelover, et al., 2006; Gómez-Ortíz, et al., 2013; Lian, et al., 2016).

Results and Discussion

Application of TiO2 nanoparticles

Titania is a special compound which finds a wide range of applications in various industrial sectors and Table 1 illustrates TiO2 utilities discovered so far. The properties such as longer shelf-life, self- cleaning, UV protection and antimicrobial properties are much sought after to improve quality of life as well as create products that are sustainable and environment friendly (Visai, et al., 2011; Chaitanya, et al., 2017; Ao and Lee, 2005).

S. no.  Properties  Sector  Example  Ref 
1 Self-Cleaning  Environment  Poly(vinyl dine fluoride ) is used as a cross linker to immobilize TiO2 by melting at 160°C on the steel Mesh.SM helps to remove organic dyes from the flow of wastewater.  [2], [3], [4], [5] 
TiO2 /H2O2 nanocomposite are used for the removal of the heavy metal from waste water.  [6] 
The bulk insertion of TiO2 in various materials (cements, ceramics etc.) related to building industry helps in degradation of organic and inorganic pollutant in gas phase.  [5], [7], [8], [9] 
Construction  Self-cleaning and anti-fogging glass is prepared due to the micro constructed composition of TiO2 at hydrophilic and oleophilic phases. Sometimes PEG and its composites are used a cross linker agent. Used in bulbs commonly.  [10], [11], [12], [17] 
TiO2 coating on the surface of lime stones protect heritage for several year.  [6], [14], [15], 
TiO2 addition in water based acrylic paint enhance its long lasting power and mechanical properties to cure the cracks etc.  [16], [17] 
Marine Hydrology  TiO2 coated Ti mesh works as oil separating device due to their superoleophobicity  [18] 
Food  Simultaneous Implication of UV radiation and TiO2 on sludge at high temperature helps in controlled removal of PAHs through the process of degradation.  [19] 
Textile  Incorporation of TiO2 along with casein and other sensitizing agent in the different fabrics (e.g. cotton) protects the garments from organic stains.  [20], [21], [22] 
2 Anti UV property and anti-aging  Textile  Attachment of TiO2 nanoparticles with clothes to improve the anti-UV absorption and improve the life of material.  [23], [24] 
3 Antimicrobial properties  Health  In rural areas, coliforms are removed from the water by using TiO2 coating on any substance, also could be used for anti-microbial agent towards pathogenic microbes.  [25], [26], [47] 
Construction  Ca (OH) 2 and TiO2 mixture was coated on the limestone, prevents the growth of fungus.  [27] 
Food  In the presence of high pressure, TiO2 nanoparticle can be easily transported from polyvinyl-Chitosan biofilm or other packing material) to food stimuli (e.g olive oil) which helps to protect from biodegradation.  [28] 
Health  Coating of tio2 on the biomedical device basically prevents the transmission of various infectious diseases during the diagnosis period.  [29], [30] 
Titanium based material could be used for space closure in bialveolar dental protrusion. 
4 Odour Removal  Health  Degrade the H2S and other unpleasant odour bearing gas in NO2,SO2 and CO2  [31] 

Table 1. Various applications of TiO2 nanoparticles

The main reasons for the wide acceptance of TiO2 nanoparticles as a coating material its safety and non-toxicity to the fabric as well as to the skin, durability, ease of application, stability, no degradation on repetitive wash cycles, and the scope for manipulations in its photo catalytic properties by modifying reaction conditions. (Tung and Daoud, 2009; Pakdel, et al., 2013; Zhang, et al., 2014; Li, et al., 2010; Behzadnia, et al., 2015; Euvananont, et al., 2008) Moreover, it has been reported that it is possible to shift active region from UV range to visible light (Behzadnia, et al., 2015). It is also applicable to a wide range of surfaces. In textile industry, it is used extensively due to its high compatibility with fabrics and low cost of production (Wang, et al., 1997; Spasiano, et al., 2015; Kim, et al., 2016; Guan, 2005; Licciulli, et al., 2011).

TiO2 modifications and immobilisation onto woollen fabric

As mentioned earlier, wool is a photo-sensitive fibre and UV light, in particular, has a negative effect on the stability of the fibre. Immobilizing TiO2 (coating the nanoparticle) on to the surface of the fabric helps solve these problems as well as improves the mechanical strength of the fabric (Ghoranneviss, et al., 2011; Kan and Yuen, 2007; Kan and Yuen, 2006; Chi-wai, et al., 2003; Chatterjee, et al., 2016). Table 2 illustrates various modifications and conditions used for immobilizing TiO2 onto woollen fabric (Ferrari, et al., 2015; Carneiro, et al., 2012; Salthammer and Fuhrmann, 2007; Banerjee, et al., 2014; Karaca and Tasdemir, 2014).

Immobilization Techniques  Immobilizing agent  Conditions  Advantages  Disadvantages  Reference 
Sol gel method Succinyl anhydride Room temperature One step, easy and homogeneity at atomic level ,High adhesion of TiO2 Shrinkage, low durability, Deterioration of carrier gas [32],[33],[34]
Hydrothermal method Tetrabutyl titanate and ammonium chloride Low temperature
Presence of water in the system
  More energy Requirement [35],[20],[36]
Sono-synthesis   One step process in very optimum pressure and low temp(70°C-80°C) Rapid, simple and inexpensive,
Absence of toxic substances
No bond formation causes low adhesive nature [37],[38],[39]
Self -assembly poly (sodium 4-styrene-sulfonate) (PSS) Electrostatic deposition Less energy consumption, Easy and uniform distribution Absence of covalent bond [23]
Direct method   Lowering the pH at room temp   No bond formation [40],
Grafting Citric Acid   Most uniform deposition
No degradation of carrier gas
May produce toxic waste [41],[42]
Sputtering   Deposition of source material at a temperature lower than evaporation Fast process No bond formation only van dar waal and mechanical interaction
Less adhesive
Plasma treatment Inert gas worked as a carrier gas Occur at the room temp Fast and one step process
Strong adhesion
More energy consumption [44],[45],[46]

Table 2. Represents various techniques available for TiO2 immobilization

Post application of TiO2 nanoparticle coating properties such as improved strength, crease resistance, self-cleaning, UV protection, resistance against microbial decay, etc. have been achieved. Thus the newly improved fibre finds a greater deal of applications in diverse fields (Zhang, et al., 2014; Xu, et al., 2016; Kale, et al., 2016; Liu, et al., 2012).


Among the wide range of options available in nanoparticle applications, Titanium dioxide and its composites have gained most attention mainly due to their high chemical stability, ease of availability, low cost and non-toxicity. It significantly enhances the characteristics of wool fabric but does not alter any intrinsic property, mainly draping ability and resilience. Wool is a multifunctional fibre which comes in a range of diameters and fabrication techniques that makes it a widely sought after fibre for clothing manufacture, household fabrics as well as technical textiles. The application of TiO2 nano-coating not only elevates the existing properties of the fibres but also imparts certain beneficial properties such as self-cleaning and odour. Overall outcome of such a modification would be the development of smart textiles with superior performance and enhanced comfort.


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