Technology Transfer Sponsored by
On Sept. 20, 2010, Manel Torres, PhD, a Spanish fashion designer, demonstrated Spray-on Fabric at Science in Style, a fashion show held at Imperial College London. The aerosol fabric technology was developed in 2001 by Torres and Paul Luckham, PhD, a professor of particle technology in the department of chemical engineering at the college. As a result, Fabrican Ltd. was founded and although the company mainly markets the technology for use in fashion, it reportedly can also be applied for medicinal bandages, diapers, deodorant pads and wipes, among other uses.
The spray-on fabric consists of short fibers that are combined with polymers to bind them together, and a solvent that delivers the fabric in liquid form and evaporates when the spray reaches a surface. The spray can be applied using a high pressure spray gun or an aerosol can. The texture of the fabric can be changed according the fibers that are used (such as wool, linen or acrylic), and how the spray is layered. The spray dries instantly to make fabric that can be washed and re-worn.
According to the company, the flexible adhesive properties of the spray-on fabric could be used for patches, wound healing products, dressings, slow-release systems and more. By adding or altering the various components in the basic formula, product designers can create an even wider variety of products, including: wipes for households or hospitals, sticky fly paper, deodorant pads, tea towels, mops, diapers, fast polishes and other cloths for hygiene purposes, and furniture upholstery. In fact, the company has developed a chair sprayed with nicotine to help smokers quit smoking.
Indeed, the spray-on fabric has a number of uses, and as the personal care industry looks for different ways to deliver skin care ingredients, perhaps this could be one of them.