About the latest developments in textile design based on the mechanism of touch-me-not leaves. Now you can curl a curtain with just a touch. Also, you can get fresher air with the photosynthetic textile.
Bio-inspired textiles are the applications of biomimetics to new textile technologies.
Research in textile industry has come a long way. Now, a good quality fabric not only includes characteristics of strength, resilience, texture, etc. but should also include qualities like non requirement of ironing, lighter feel, environment-friendliness, heat-absorbency, etc. To keep up with the finding of new and better materials for making textiles, there has been ongoing research on incorporating natural ideas into designing of textile and fabrics. There have been several biologically inspired textiles, which, have several added properties to them. There have been textiles developed from spider silk to incorporate its extremely high tensile strength into some of the thinnest and lightest fibers. Also lotus’ self-cleaning ability has been used as inspiration. Even recombinant DNA methods have been applied to create protein-based fibers of requisite qualities.
One of the latest in these lines of foray into the world of bio-mimetic textiles is a project by Rajatesh Nath Barbhuiya of IIT, Guwahati, Assam, India. He has been recently awarded the International Silver A’ Design Award for Textile, Fabric, Textures, Patterns and Cloth Design Category in 2011. His research was on a textile made on the ‘coiling’ principle of the Touch-Me-Not plant scientifically called Mimosa pudica. The garment made out of the textile would behave exactly like the touch-me-not leaf by coiling and uncoiling upon human touch. It can also absorb carbon source from atmosphere based on artificial photosynthesis and capillary action. It can also absorb heat and sweat making it a fabric for popular summer wears and swimmers.
The research was his final semester M. Tech project from Jan-May ‘11 under the guidance of Prof. Pradeep Yammiyavar of IIT, Guwahati. Its main principles are capillary action, coil and recoil based on the action of Mimosa leaves (extensor, flexor, stimuli), artificial photosynthesis based on four steps- 1)Nano organic photovoltaic cells, 2)Artificial photolysis, 3)Mimicking bio-energy transfer and absorbing carbon source, and 4)Conversion to energy source or other products. The textile is in a form of nano-tube fiber film( lined with sunlight absorbing material, which can suck in air and convert to oxygen and energy using nano fuel cells) rolled over individual layer of normal textile. (see figures in the attached link: http://www.adesignaward.com/design-image.php?y=2011&design=23915)
The research can be spun out to form fabrics for curtains which can coil and uncoil upon touch or some other sensor and which can photosynthetize to form oxygen at oxygen-depleted but sunny regions. It can also be used to create mountaineering suites to provide oxygen to mountaineers and swim-suits for sweat-absorption of swimmers. Further research may produce textiles capable of supplying necessity to body at extreme conditions.
Kudos to Rajatesh for his brilliant idea. Lets hope his vision is realized soon.
For the links to my other articles and works…visit my website..http://aninditajroy.wordpress.com