Office of Dean Research

The Study of Hydrophobicity and Oleophilicity of 3D Weft-Knitted Spacer Fabrics Integrated With Silica Aerogels

Tayyab Naveed

 In recent years, industrial discharges such as dyeing and printing chemicals, leather treatments, oil spills, etc. have caused severe challenges to the world environment. They have high toxicity, which has detrimental effects on the ecological system, marine life, and public health. Therefore, the optimizations in material characteristics for high-performances are in great demand of clean up, recovery, and safety measures. For example, hydrophobicity and oleophilicity affect the silica aerogel wettability (contact angle) and surface tension (surface energy), and their accumulation lead efficiently to many ecological applications, i.e., adsorption of organic liquids, oil spill remediation, thermal insulation, catalyst supports, water repellent, aeronautics, and aerospace. Amongst all aerogels (silica, cellulosic, carbon, graphene, resorcinol formaldehyde, and inorganic), silica aerogels (SAs) exhibited conspicuous potential due to their unique molecular structure, high porosity, hydrophobicity, oleophilicity, low density, and thermal conductivity. Therefore, SAs actively react for hydrophobic modification through synthesis and strongly associate with 3D structures which helps to control the structural collapse during the critical condensation process. Thus, hydrophobicity could be enhanced by increasing the surface roughness and reducing surface energy. 3D weft-knitted spacer fabric (92% polyester/8% spandex) is typically hydrophobic and, therefore the best alternative to cotton and traditional moisture-sensitive textile materials. Moreover, it has good transversal compressibility, planar elasticity, higher strength, and thermal insulation and can be recycled.