Science and Fashion Work Together Creating Social Innovation Fabrics

Dec 22, 2011 4:14 PM ET
Campaign: CSR Blogs

Posted by Sangeeta Haindl

Engineers in China have created a social innovation: self-cleaning cotton fabric. It has a chemical coating that causes the cotton materials to clean themselves of stains and remove odours when exposed to sunlight. The treatment is cheap, non-toxic and ecologically friendly. This study was carried out by researchers at Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Hubei University for Nationalities.

Retail experts believe this social innovation could be a big hit with retailers thanks to a growing demand for "functional clothing." The study focuses on titanium dioxide, a chemical known to be a fantastic catalyst in the breakdown of organic pollutants. In fact, the material is already used in self-cleaning windows, odour-free socks and stay-clean kitchen and bathroom tiles.

The team's breakthrough was to create a nanoparticle (nanotechnology is the science of the very small) of an alcohol-based compound made up of chemicals - titanium dioxide and nitrogen.

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Sangeeta Haindl is a staff writer for Justmeans on Social Enterprise. When not writing for Justmeans, Sangeeta wears her other hat as a PR professional. Over the years, she has worked with high-profile organizations within the public, not-for-profit and corporate sectors; and won awards from her industry. She now runs her own UK consultancy: Serendipity PR & Media.