Using nanotechnology, a research team led by Edgar O’Rear III, Francis W. Winn professor of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, has developed a cotton fabric that is water repellent while still retaining its most desirable features – softness, comfort and breathability.
Individual fibers of white cotton fabric are covered with an ultra-thin, virtually imperceptible coating that makes the fabric hydrophobic yet still comfortable. A water droplet placed on top of a flat swatch will sit over the fabric for hours without being absorbed.
Potential applications for the hydrophobic cotton include clothing – particularly outerwear – as well as tents, cardboard boxes and other packing material, bed and table linens and disposable diapers.
O’Rear also has developed a polymer formulation that dissolves blood clots more quickly by enabling clot-busting medication administered intravenously to be delivered more effectively. The technology, for which a patent has been issued, also can reduce bleeding complications, cutting the time for re-establishing blood flow by as much as a factor of 10.