Plasma Technology in Textile: A step towards the green environment (Part-5)

Plasma Technology in Textile: A step towards the green environment (Part-5)

Arpita Kothari
M. Tech. Scholar
Department of Textile Technology,
NIT Jalandhar, India
Cell: +91- 7837-696041

-----Previous Part            

5. Traditional textile processing vs. plasma technology:
Table 2 is showing the advantages of plasma technology over textile wet processing.

Table 2: Traditional textile processing vs. plasma technology:
                                Plasma processing
          Traditional wet processing
No wet chemistry involved. Water-based Treatment by excited gas phase
Water – based
Electricity – only free electrons heated (<1% of system mass)
Heat – entire system mass temperature raised
Reaction type
Complex and multifunctional; many simultaneous processes
Simpler, well established
Reaction locality
Highly surface specific, no effect on bulk properties
Bulk of the material generally affected
Potential of new processes
Great potential, field in state of rapid development
Very low; technology
Experimental, laboratory and industrial prototypes;
rapid industrial developments
Mature, slow evolution
Energy consumption
Water consumption
Handling and storage of bulk
Mixing of chemicals, formulation of baths
Raw materials consumption
Drying ovens and curing operations
Need for solvents, surfactants, acid
Number of process steps
Waste disposal/recycling needs
Environmentally costly
Innovation potential
Very high
6. Recent Research in Plasma Technology:
In the textile field, significant research work has been going on since the early 1980s in many laboratories across the world dealing with low-pressure plasma treatments of a variety of fibrous materials showing very promising results regarding the improvements in various functional properties in plasma-treated textiles.

Plasma technology is in itself a new research topic in textiles but from all the above discussion it is clear that it has a great potential in textile innovations and there are a lot of things and research has been going on, few of them are listed below.

6.1. Atmospheric Pressure Plasma Vapour Treatment of Thermo-sensitive Poly (N-isopropyl acrylamide):
Poly(N-isopropyl acrylamide) (PNIPAAm) is a new type of smart thermo-sensitive macromolecule material that is characterized by a sudden precipitation on heating, switching from a hydrophilic to a hydrophobic state. By using the self-made equipment of atmospheric pressure plasma vapour treatment running in the environment of argon, PNIPAAm was deposited separately to Polybutylene Terephthalate (PBT) melt-blown nonwovens and Polyester (PET) fabrics. It was found that the wettability and water permeability were signicantly modified by changing the temperature above and below the Lower Critical Solution Temperature (LCST), according to the data derived from measurements of water contact angle, water permeability time and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) images. Considering human body temperature is close to the LCST, these results are valuable for further application to thermo-sensitive textile materials.
6.2. Multifunctional textiles with high UV protection:
Plasma polymerization technique can be used on textiles with TiO2 and/or ZnO nanoparticles and such high UV protective or multifunctional fabrics can be developed.

6.3. Antimicrobial textiles with metallic effects:
Research is going on for developing anti-microbial fabric by Metallization with Ag nanoparticles on textile surfaces by sputtering (PVD) i.e. Physical vapour deposition.

6.4. Atmospheric Pressure Plasma Processing System for Angora Wool (APPAW):
Recently, FCIPT-Institute for Plasma Research (IPR) and National Institute of Design (NID) carried out a pioneering research work by way of not only developing an innovative Atmospheric Pressure Plasma Processing System for Angora Wool (APPAW) but also successfully installing and establishing it in the Angora Cottage Industry at Kullu.

This plasma plant for surface modification of fibres, generates plasma at atmospheric pressure using air as plasma forming gas. This is a cost-effective green process. Also, it is the first Atmospheric Pressure Plasma System for Textiles developed in the country, for demonstration.

Plasma treatment assists in increasing the friction and cohesion between the fibres. It forms a part of the movement on promotion of non-polluting techniques for mechanical processing of textile materials without any difficulties such as static, shedding, fibrosity. The plasma treatment caused a slight reduction in denier and increase in tenacity of Angora fibre while substantially increasing the friction between the fibres. The plasma treatment to Angora fibres also improves wettability and dye uptake.

7. Conclusion:
  • Plasma is a versatile technology to chemically and physically modify the surface of materials.
  • Plasma technology is used to achieve new or improved properties to textiles. It is an alternative environmentally friendly technology to complement or substitute several conventional textile processes.
  • Research and development of plasma treatments applied to textiles are still globally increasing. Different studies have been done on natural, artificial and synthetic fibers.
  • Sputtering, etching, chemical functionalization, free-radicals generation and UV radiation are some of the most important effects conferred by plasma treatments to textiles.
  • Plasma treatments are increasing their presence in the textile industry for several applications.
8. References:
  1. Yang Chena, Xiaoliang Tang, Baotong Chen a, Gao Qiu, “Atmospheric Pressure Plasma Vapor Treatment of Thermo-sensitive Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) and Its Application to Textile Materials”, Journal of Fiber Bioengineering & Informatics 4:3 (2011) pp. 285-290.
  2. Shah J.N. and Shah S.R., “Innovative Plasma Technology in Textile Processing: A Step towards Green Environment”, Research Journal of Engineering Sciences, Vol. 2(4), 34-39, April (2013)
  5. S. F. Sadova and E. V. Pankratova, “Low-Temperature Plasma Surface Modification of Textiles Made from Natural Fibers and Advanced Technologies”, Plenary reports from the 5th international symposium on theoretical And applied plasma chemistry, (September 3–8, 2008, Ivanovo, Russia)
  6. G. Buyle, “ Nanoscale finishing of textiles via plasma treatment”, Materials Technology 2009 VOL 24, pp 46-51
  7. R.Shishoo, “Plasma technology for textiles”, The textile institute, Woodhead publishing limited
  8. LEITAT Technological center, “Plasma technology applied to textiles”, T-POT PROJECT 18th June 2009 Terrassa (Spain)
  9. S. K. Chinta*, S. M. Landage and Sathish Kumar. M, “Plasma technology & Its application in Textile wet Processing”, International Journal of Engineering Research & Technology (IJERT), Vol 1,Issue 22, July 2011
  10. Ms. Anita Desai, “Plasma technology: A review”, The Indian Textile Journal, January 2008 issue.
  11. A newsletter, “Plasma processing update”, Facilitation Centre for Industrial Plasma Technologies, Institute for Plasma Research Issue 56 January – April 2009 
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Mazharul Islam Kiron is a textile consultant and researcher on online business promotion. He is working with one European textile machinery company as a country agent. He is also a contributor of Wikipedia.

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