In the current market, the well-known brands of textiles are usually protected with a fluorocarbon based treatment to provide high durability and a stain repellent finish. The most common treatments are based on impregnation of perfluorocarbons (PFCs) into the fabrics, due to their good water repellence properties. Unfortunately, the best performing PFCs, known as C8 (due to the 8 carbon atoms in their backbone chain), also raise significant health and environmental concerns, by being very stable in the environment (bio- accumulative). Research has indicated that they are possible carcinogens and, consequently, eight carbon PFCs (PFC-C8) are currently subject to high regulatory pressure.

Various alternatives have been considered. Shorter chain materials such as those based on C6 chemistry are more rapidly degraded in the environment, but in the longer term any PFC material may have potential issues with sustainability and ecological performance. Additionally, neither the shorter chain PFCs nor the current silicone-based alternatives have been developed to a point where they deliver the necessary performance to meet the industry’s durability and repellence standards. Consequently, we, the Textile industrial community, need an alternative to PFC-C8 to be developed, which is durable and equally performs. To amend the solution will require both chemical and process expertise beyond that available in our community and, consequently, we are running this project TEX_SHEILD funded by the European commission.

Approach to market

The SME Associations within this project wish to ensure that the solution to the problem described above is made available for exploitation to their members. The approaches identified by the RTDs likely to be in the direction of manufacture of nanomaterial solution derived by sol-gel method in- order to deliver the necessary performance attributes to the industry requirement. The developed know-how will be transferred appropriately to the industry. Following the project, the approach will be licensed to our interested members for exploitation.