A Simple Surface Functionalization Method for Multifunctional Textiles With Flame and Vector Protection

Dr. Ravi Mosurkal | US Army Natick Soldier, Research, Development, & Engineering Center



The primary objective of this effort is to develop a simple, versatile, sustainable, and cost-effective approach to impart safer and durable fire retardant characteristics and insect repellency for nylon/cotton(Nyco)-based Army Combat Uniform (ACU) fabrics using a combination of chemical surface functionalization and atmospheric pressure plasma treatment techniques. To achieve the multifunctionality in Nyco fabrics, bio-derived flame retardants and safer insect repellants will be employed.

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Technical Approach

To impart fire retardancy and insect repellency in Nyco fabric, two different approaches will be explored to ensure optimal functionalization and durability. A combination of surface chemical functionalization and atmospheric plasma treatment is the first approach. This modified fabric will then be treated with insect repellants by plasma induced deposition. In the second approach, both selected flame retardant and insect repellant compounds will be incorporated onto fabrics by atmospheric pressure plasma treatment technique either sequentially or in one step. All fabrics will be characterized to confirm surface functionalization of FR materials and insect repellents. To quantify the improvement in flame retardancy and insect repellency, the fabric will be evaluated using various FR characterization techniques and arm-in-cage test respectively. Every effort will be made to use non-toxic solvents as well as final flame retardants and insecticides during the course of this project.

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This research will result in novel low cost and durable multifunctional fabrics that will empower and protect the Warfighter in harsh environments. The functionalization techniques described are simple, scalable and sustainable approaches to achieve multifunctionality on nylon/cotton (Nyco) blend fabric. Using the plasma treatment and surface chemical functionalization approach involving bio-derived or synthetic flame retardants/insect repellents allows for retaining the mechanical properties of the textiles while substantially lowering the environmental or health risks associated with FR or insect repellants. Furthermore, sustainable and effective flame retardants and insect repellants will not only protect from fires but also reduce the potential for vector-borne illness and improve readiness for the Warfighter.

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Points of Contact

Principal Investigator

Dr. Ravi Mosurkal

US Army Natick Soldier, Research, Development, & Engineering Center

Phone: 508-233-5791