Nanotechnology Project

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Environment, Health and Safety Research

From Nanoparticles to Novel Protective Garments

Project Information

Principal InvestigatorShymala Rajagopalan
Project URLView
Relevance to ImplicationsHigh
Class of NanomaterialEngineered Nanomaterials
Impact SectorSafety
Broad Research Categories Safety
NNI identifier

Funding Information

Anticipated Total Funding$100,000.00
Annual Funding$100,000.00
Funding SourceNIOSH
Funding MechanismExtramural
Funding SectorGovernment
Start Year2004
Anticipated End Year2005


The overall objectives of this collaborative Phase I research between NanoScale and Gentex Corp. are (1) to investigate the use of highly adsorbent and reactive nanoparticles in protective garments and (2) to create and test new materials for use in the production of protective clothing. During routine chemical use it is not always apparent when exposure occurs. Many chemicals pose invisible hazards and offer no warnings. More importantly, terrorists and saboteurs use a variety of toxic industrial chemicals to create improvised explosives, chemical agents and poisons. When dealing with hazardous materials released either by accident or intentionally, protective clothing is critical in guarding against the effects of toxic or corrosive products that could enter the body by inhalation or skin absorption and cause adverse effects.

This project seeks to (a) establish the feasibility of incorporating highly adsorbent and reactive nanoparticles into lightweight, permeable textiles and (b) evaluate the utility of the resultant fabric as protective clothing using standard industry testing procedures. These novel protective garments will be tailored specifically toward personnel associated with federal, state, or local emergency agencies as well as fire fighters and civilian first responders.

To achieve the overall objective, reactivity of selected nanoparticle formulations to various toxic industrial chemicals will be explored by use of a quartz spring balance to determine adsorption capacity. Based on the outcome of this research, a single reactive nanoparticle formulation will be chosen for use in fabrics. The selected nanoparticle formulation will then be incorporated into suitable fabrics using two established techniques. Next, fabric test swatches will be evaluated for a number of criteria using industry recognized ASTM test methods. Finally, the top four nanoparticle embedded fabrics will be tested for physical and chemical resistance against two representative toxic chemicals using a standard ASTM procedure.