Exciting technology: great strides forward

Even some of the clothes we wear make use of nano


Probably the most visible nanotech products to date are the stain- and wrinkle-resistant trousers developed by North Carolina-based Nano-Tex LLC. This innovative clothing is sold by Eddie Bauer, Lee Jeans and several other retailers.

Nanopants (or nanotrousers) are garments whose fabric has been treated with a product containing polymer chains to improve their resistance to staining. They are super-hydrophobic (water-hating) because the hydrophobic chains point away from the textile surface, so liquids cannot soak into the fabric.

If you happen to spill coffee or orange juice on your ‘nanopants’, the liquid simply beads off and falls harmlessly to the floor, rather than leaving a stubborn stain. Handy.

The future

There are no regulatory worries – these products are already on the shelves. In fact, most wardrobes now include at least one wrinkle-resistant item. The technology is even being used by some designer brands, making the move from practical clothing to high fashion.

Lead image:

BASF – The Chemical Company/Flickr CC BY NC ND

About this resource

This resource was first published in ‘Nanoscience’ in June 2005 and reviewed and updated in August 2014.

Biotechnology and engineering
Education levels:
16–19, Continuing professional development