Surface functionalization of textile fibers with reactive silanes
Abstract-Reactive silanes offer an interesting new approach for surface modification of textile fibers. General concepts of the use of silanes and some textile applications are discussed. Inorganicorganic hybrid polymers derived from alkoxysilanes via a sol-gel process combine characteristics of ceramics and synthetic polymers, and offer an immense potential for creative modifications of surface properties with a low technical effort at moderate temperatures. By an appropriate composition of the sol, coatings can be achieved that improve both water and oil repellency, offer optical properties, e.g., UV absorption or color, and simultaneously form a protective coating for application in aggressive environments. The silane chemistry allows also stabilization of nano-sized metal-oxide particles, introducing an additional ‘degree of freedom’ with regard to functionalization. A promising concept is to integrate the particles in the three-dimensional network of the hybrid polymers derived by the sol-gel process, where they can be employed to create certain optical effects or to enhance mechanical strength. Several examples are shown in this paper. Some metal oxides, such as TiO2, have interesting catalytic properties, which might be used to impart reactivity to fiber surfaces. In this case, the described inclusion of particles in the hybrid polymer is not advantageous for reason of their low accessibility. Alternative solutions for the fixation of isolated catalytic nanoparticles derived from the silane chemistry will be discussed.