Materials Sciences and Applicatio ns, 2011, 2, 1432-1442
doi:10.4236/msa.2011.210194 Published Online October 2011 (
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. MSA
Ultraviolet Protection, Flame Retardancy and
Antibacterial Properties of Treated Polyester
Fabric Using Plasma-Nano Technology
Wafaa M. Raslan1, Usama S. Rashed2, Hanan El-Sayad1, Azza A. El-Halwagy1
1Textile Research Division, National Research Centre, Cairo, Egypt; 2Physics Department, Faculty of Science, Al-Azhar University,
Cairo, Egypt.
Received March 11th, 2011; revised June 21st, 2011; accepted June 27th, 2011.
Nanotechnology provides the ability to engineer the properties of materials. The possibility of using dielectric barrier
discharge (DBD) air plasma treatment for fibre surface activation to facilitate deposition of aluminum oxide (Al2O3),
nano-silver (Ag) and nano-titanium dioxide (TiO2) onto polyester fabric is investigated. It is aimed to study the possibil-
ity of engineering the multifunctional of polyester fabric. The treated fabric is evaluated through measuring the white-
ness index (WI), wettability, surface roughness, surface morphology, flame retardancy, ultraviolet protection factor
(UPF), thermo-gravimetric analysis (TGA), antibacterial activity, mechanical properties, and coloration behavior as
well as fastness properties. Scan electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) graphs show
deposition of Al2O3 and nano particles (NPs) of TiO2 and Ag onto the fibre after washing several times. Air plasma-
Al2O3 treatment improves the flame retarding, UPF, the thermal stability and whiteness of polyester fabric; whereas air
plasma-nano Ag treatment affects positively the antibacterial activity of the fibre and air plasma-nano TiO2 enhances
the fibre protection against ultraviolet rays. The colouration behaviour of the treated samples is unchanged or slightly
Keywords: Polyester, Plasma, Nanotechnology, Modification, Dyeing-Printing, UV Protection, Fire Proof,
Antibacterial Activity
1. Introduction
Plasma, especially glow plasma, is efficient at creating a
high density of free radicals by dissociating the mole-
cules through electron collisions and photochemical
processes. The gas-phase radicals have sufficient energy
to disrupt the chemical bonds in the polymer surface on
exposure, which results in the formation of new chemical
species. Modification of textile surfaces by plasma tech-
nology can be used to obtain nano-porous structures [1].
The plasma coating is more durable than the traditional
sprayed finishes because the coating is chemically bonded
to the treated fabric [2]. One of the typical plasma dis-
charges operating at atmospheric pressure is the dielec-
tric barrier discharge (DBD). The main characteristic of
DBD device is the presence of a dielectric layer within
the discharge gap (0.1 - 1 mm) insulating at least one of
the electrodes [1]. The presence of the dielectric layer
characterizes DBD over other types of plasma. Forma-
tion of sheath at plasma-dielectric interface is due to the
deposition of charges on the dielectric layer which leads
to bulk formation of plasma instead of the spark of arc
channels. The presence of dielectric layer causes a wide
range of frequency which gives DBD its capacitive reac-
tance and hence the formation of displacement current.
Plasma in DBD is cold because of the presence of dielec-
tric layer which limits the ohmic (heating) current in the
circuit while the displacement current doesn’t have any
heating effects.
The manufacture of high value-added products such as
smart, medical and protective textiles has increased rap-
idly. The approach to deposit nano-scaled coatings on
textiles for sensing monitoring body functions, delivering
communication facilities, data transfer, individual envi-
ronment control and many other applications is studied.
Nano materials are fundamentally different from normal
Ultraviolet Protection, Flame Retardancy and Antibacterial Properties of Treated Polyester Fabric 1433
Using Plasma-Nano Technology
materials because the surface area of nano particles in-
creases with decreasing the particle size and the behav-
iour of matter becomes more reliant upon quantum ef-
fects [3-8]. The demand for textile flame retardancy is
mainly in work clothing, firefighter apparel, upholstery,
carpet and military garments. Coating of textiles with fire
resistant powder such as Al2O3 and Mg (OH)2 was tried
to get fire resistant fabric [9,10]. Another interesting ap-
proach is the coating of textiles with nano-particles of
titanium dioxide. Metallic silver is an increasingly im-
portant material in many technologies. Highly dispersed
silver NPs are used as antimicrobial materials [11].
In this work, DBD air plasma was applied to deposit
aluminum oxide, nano titanium dioxide and nano silver
onto the polyester fabric surface to attain a new approach
for producing high added value polyester fabrics that
provide consumers with greater levels of functional per-
formance. The work is investigated through evaluation of
fibre whiteness, wettability, surface morphology, flame
retarding, UPF, antibacterial activity and dyeability as
well as printability and fastness properties.
2. Experimental
2.1. Materials
Polyester fabric (78 dtex, 34 filaments) was provided by
Misr Rayon Co., Kafr El-Dawar, Egypt. The fabric was
soaped at 40˚C for 30 min, thoroughly washed, and air
dried at room temperature.
Aluminum oxide of particle size 100 - 200 nm and
NPs of titanium dioxide and silver (particle size < 100
nm) were supplied from Aldrich. All other chemicals
used were of reagent grade.
Commercial disperse dyes such as C. I. Disperse Blue
56 and Disperse Red Palanil Rot BF 200% supplied from
BASF were used for dyeing and printing respectively.
2.2. Methods
2.2.1. Fabric T reatment
The polyester fabric was exposed to low temperature
plasma using dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) in at-
mospheric air at discharge power of 1.3 watt for different
time intervals (2 - 10 min). The simplified drawing of the
plasma apparatus and list of the device characteristics,
such as power input, operating voltage and frequency,
gas flow rates and ambient temperature is described
elsewhere [12]. The discharge voltage is 9 kV (0 to peak),
the discharge current is 1 mA (0 to peak) and the dis-
charge power is 1.3 W. In DBD the discharge power
cannot be expressed in the simple form of DC power
dissipation; (W = IV). AC is used where the phase angle
between the voltage and current makes that simple ex-
pression of power is wrong. The discharge current in
DBD has two parts; the real part (ohimc current) and the
imaginary part (displacement current). The dissipated
power comes only for the real part (ohmic current), while
the displacement current doesn’t make any dissipation of
power. To calculate the discharge power in such cases
Lissajous technique is used where a charge voltage dia-
gram is measured and the integration of such diagram is
used to measure the power:
W = Int (V dq)/T
where Int is the integration over one cycle, dq is the dif-
ferentiation element of the charge and T is the periodic
time [1].
Aluminum oxide, nano titanium dioxide and nano sil-
ver powders (1 g/100 g fibre) were distributed carefully
either on the polyester samples or on the electrode disk
before subjecting to the plasma treatment. In other ex-
periment, some samples were padded in a solution con-
taining 1% (owf) of nano-silver, squeezed to pick up
100%, air dried and then subjected to air low temperature
plasma treatments at discharge powers of 1.3 and 2 watt
for 1 and 2 min. The treated samples were washed sev-
eral times with soap solution containing 1 g/l non ionic
detergent at 40˚C for 15 min, rinsed thoroughly with wa-
ter and then air dried.
2.2.2. Dyeing Procedure
Polyester fabrics under investigation were dyed accord-
ing to the exhaustion technique using 1% (owf) C. I. Dis-
perse Blue 56. A material to liquor ratio 1:50 was em-
ployed and dyeing was allowed to proceed at ~100˚C for
30 min. The acidity of the dye bath was adjusted to pH
4.5 with acetic acid. The samples were withdrawn after
dyeing, washed and rinsed with water then dried at am-
bient conditions.
2.2.3. Printi ng Technique
The untreated and treated polyester fabric were printed
using conventional silk screen printing technique (man-
ual blade system, three strokes were used). After air dry-
ing, the samples were steam fixed for 2 min at 190˚C,
then washed according to the following steps:
Rinsing with cold water.
Washing with 1 g/l nonionic detergent (Aspicon1030)
at 40˚C.
Reductive washing of the dyed samples was normally
performed using a solution containing 0.5 g/L soda
ash, 2 g/L sodium hydrosulphite, and 1 g/L of a stable
surfactant for 15 min at 70˚C to ensure the removal of
extra dye physically adhered on the fiber surface.
Rinsing with water at 50˚C.
Rinsing with cold water and air dried.
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. MSA
Ultraviolet Protection, Flame Retardancy and Antibacterial Properties of Treated Polyester Fabric
Using Plasma-Nano Technology
2.3. Measurements
2.3.1. Whiten ess
Changes in fabric whiteness index after treatment were
measured using Ultra Scan PRO-Hunter Lab spectro-
photometer according to AATCC test method 153-1985
2.3.2. Wettability
The wettability was evaluated by measuring the wetting
time according to the AATCC method 35-1989 [14]. The
average value of twenty readings was taken as a result.
2.3.3. Sur fac e Roughness
Changes in surface roughness values were measured for
treated and untreated polyester samples. The Surfacorder
Surface Roughness Measuring Instrument SE 1700α
(Japan) is used. The results were the average values of
ten readings.
2.3.4. Scan Electron Microsc opy (SEM)
The surface morphology of untreated and treated fabric
was investigated by using SEM, JSMT-20, JEOL-Japan.
Before examination, the fabric surface was prepared on
an appropriate disk and coated randomly by a spray of
gold. SEM was carried out in National Research Centre
2.3.5. Tensile Properties
Fabric tensile strength test was conducted according to
ASTM method 1682 (1994), which is standard method
for breaking force and elongation of tensile fabrics [15].
The width and the length of the fabric strip are 5 and 20
cm respectively. The average of five samples readings is
2.3.6. Thermo-Gravimetric Analysis
Thermo-gravimetric analysis (TGA) was carried out us-
ing thermal Analyzer 7 Series (Perkin Elmer, USA), with
attached TG unit. The sample holder was heated under
normal atmosphere at a rate of 10 ˚C/min, sensitivity +
25, chart speed +5 mm/min, and the loss in weights of
the samples were recorded against temperature from 5˚C
to 500˚C [16].
2.3.7. Flame Re tardancy
Determination of burning behaviour of interior materials
with a small flame was carried out using the test method
ISO 3795-1989. The flame height of 3.8 cm was applied
for a period of 15 sec. The time of burning (sec) and the
burning rate (mm/min) were estimated.
2.3.8. Antibac te rial Activity
Antibacterial activity was carried out by the diffusion
disc method [17]. Polyester sample was placed in a Petri
dish containing solid bacteria medium (nutrient agar) or
fungal medium (Doxs medium) which has been heavily
seeded with the spore suspension of the tested organism.
The incubation period of the tested microorganism is 24
hours. The tested microorganisms are Staphylococcus
aureus (G+ve), Escherichia coli (G-ve) and Pseudomo-
nas aeruginosa (G-ve). The diameter of the clear zone of
inhibition surrounding the sample was taken as a meas-
ure of the fabric activity against the particular test or-
ganism. An average value of four measurements was
2.3.9. Ultr a vi o l e t Protection Factor ( UPF)
The UPF of untreated and treated PET was measured
using Lambda 35 UV/Vis Systems Spectrophotometer
(PerkinElmer, USA, 2001). The protection is evaluated
by good, very good and excellent if the values of UPF
are 15 - 24, 25 - 39 and >40 respectively.
2.3.10. Colour Measurements
The colour intensity, expressed as K/S value of the dyed
and printed polyester samples was determined using Ul-
tra Scan PRO-Hunter Lab spectrophotometer and was
estimated by applying the Kubelka-Munk equation [18].
The K/S value of each sample was measured five times
and the average result was recorded.
2.3.11. Fastness Properties
The dyed samples were washed using 2 g/l nonionic de-
tergent (Egyptol PLM) at 40˚C for 30 min, and tested
against washing color fastness properties using the stan-
dard test method ISO 105-C04 (1989) [19].
3. Results and Discussion
3.1. Treatment of PET with Plasma-Al2O3
Scan Electron Microscopy (SEM): The SEM images
were observed to comprehend the alteration of surface
morphology of the untreated and plasma-Al2O3 treated
polyester fabrics as shown in Figures 1(a)-(e). Figure
1(a) clearly demonstrates that the untreated polyester
fibre had a smooth surface and was free from roughness.
Since the smooth outer surface of polyester would not
enhance the absorption of moisture, thus the moisture
content of the untreated polyester fabric was generally
poor. However, Figure 1(b) shows the graph of treated
PET with air plasma while Figures 1(c)-(e) show that the
SEM graphs of polyester fabric treated with air plasma-
Al2O3. It could be seen that there is a drastic change in
the fibre surface morphology with the presence of some
cracks and deposited Al2O3 particles which inserted into
the pores resulted from the air plasma treatment. Figure
1(c) represents SEM graph of treated polyester sample
with plasma-Al2O3 by distributing the powder either on
the sample or on the electode disk (before washing) r
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. MSA
Ultraviolet Protection, Flame Retardancy and Antibacterial Properties of Treated Polyester Fabric
Using Plasma-Nano Technology
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. MSA
(a) (b)
on sample on electrode disk
on sample on electrode disk
5 min 10 min
Figure 1. (a) SEM of untreated PET fabric; (b) SEM of air plasma treated PET at 1.3 watt for 2 min; (c) SEM of air
plasma-Al2O3 treated PET at 1.3 watt for 2 min (before washing); (d) SEM of air plasma-Al2O3 treate d PET at 1.3 wa tt for 2
min (after washing); (e) SEM of air plasma-Al2O3 treated PET on sample at 1.3 watt for 5 and 10 min (after washing).
Ultraviolet Protection, Flame Retardancy and Antibacterial Properties of Treated Polyester Fabric
Using Plasma-Nano Technology
while Figure 1(d) represents the same samples after
washing for about 20 times. It is clear that spreading of
Al2O3 powder on the sample before subjecting to air
plasma treatment is more effective on depositing Al2O3
particles onto polyester fabric than spreading it on the
electrode disk. After washing 20 times Al2O3 particles
still exist on the fibre surface but its amount was de-
creased. It is also noticed from Figures 1(d) and (e) that
increasing the plasma exposure time from 2 to 10 min is
not effective on dipping the metal oxide particles. Gener-
ally, low temperature plasma treatment did impart a sig-
nificant alteration to the fibre surface as a result of its
etching action on the fibre surface causing surface
roughness [10] while presence of Al2O3 particles on fibre
surface affect positively on the flame retardancy, white-
ness index and thermal stability as will be discussed
Surface Roughness: The surface roughness of un-
treated and plasma-Al2O3 treated PET fabric at discharge
power of 1.3 watt for different time intervals (2 - 10 min)
are measured. The results are represented in Table 1. The
surface roughness is found to be time dependent and in-
creases gradually with increasing the time of plasma
treatment. The surface roughness values are 15.7, 16.7
and 20.2 µm for samples treated at 1.3 watt for 2, 5 and
10 min respectively (Table 1). On the other hand,
spreading the Al2O3 powder on the sample gives higher
effect and it is the preferred treatment technique. The
surface roughness is due to etching effect of air plasma
treatment [20]. Also, addition of nano-particles to the
fibre will affect the roughness properties with additional
incorporation of the functional properties of nano-parti-
cles [21].
Wettability: The primary parameter that characterizes
wettability of a surface is the static contact angle, which
is defined as the measurable angle that a liquid makes
with a surface. The contact angle depends on several
factors, such as roughness and the manner of surface
preparation and its cleanliness. If the liquid wets the sur-
face and the value of static contact angle is <90˚, it is
referred to as hydrophilic surface. Whereas if the liquid
does not wet the surface and the value of contact angle is
>90˚ and <180˚, it is referred to as hydrophobic surface.
All treated fabric with plasma-Al2O3 either by spreading
the powder on sample or on the electrode disk do not wet
the fabric and the photo of water drop is shown in Figure
2. It is clear that the contact angle is obtuse angle (>90˚)
meaning that the plasma-Al2O3 treated fabric surface
Table 1. Wettability and surface roughness of treated polyester fabric.
Polyester Sample Wettability (sec) Roughness (µm)
Untreated 11.5 14.4
Treated with plasma-Al2O3 (on sample) for: 2 min >3600 15.7
5 min - 16.7
10 min - 20.2
Treated with plasma-Al2O3 (on disk) for 10 min - 17.4
Treatment conditions: 1.3 watt.
Figure 2. Water drop photo of plasma-Al2O3 treated PET at 1.3 watt for 2 min.
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. MSA
Ultraviolet Protection, Flame Retardancy and Antibacterial Properties of Treated Polyester Fabric 1437
Using Plasma-Nano Technology
becomes more hydrophobic and water repellent. The
wetting time as another method for determining the wet-
tability [14] was found to be >3600 sec for treated sam-
ples compared to 11.5 sec for untreated one (Table 1).
The Whiteness Index (WI) for both untreated and
treated polyester fabric with air plasma-Al2O3 was meas-
ured. The results are illustrated in Table 2. It is noticed
that this treatment led to a slight increase in whiteness of
polyester fabric whereas the WI is found to be 112 for
untreated one compared to 116 and 115 for treated sam-
ples at 1.3 watt for 2 and 5 min respectively. The maxi-
mum % increase in whiteness (~4%) was attained upon
treatment with air plasma-Al2O3 (on sample) at 1.3 watt
for 2 min. This slight increase in whiteness index may be
due to the combined treatment of plasma and Al2O3 as
reported elsewhere [22] that treatment of textiles with
aluminum led to increasing the whiteness and plasma
also led to increase the fabric whiteness [1,8,12]. Also, it
was reported that treatment with Al2O3 build up a group
of metal oxides that have very interesting properties due
to the special characteristics such as optical transparency,
special dielectric properties and nonlinear optical effects
[7]. Increasing the exposure time up to 10 min led to a
decrease in WI to about 108 for samples treated with
plasma-Al2O3 at 1.3 watt (either on sample or on elec-
trode). This decrease in WI may be due to increasing the
surface roughness as will be shown later. It was also no-
ticed that the yellowness index (YI) is inversely propor-
tional to the whiteness index.
Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) of untreated and
air plasma-Al2O3 treated PET was measured. The protec-
tion is evaluated by good, very good and excellent if the
values of UPF are 15 - 24, 25 - 39 and >40 respectively.
It could be shown from Table 2 that the UPF of PET
increases from 8 for untreated one to 16 (good protec-
tion), 15 (good protection) and 14 for plasma-Al2O3
treated samples at 1.3 watt for 2, 5 and 10 min respec-
tively. It could also be noticed that increasing the expo-
sure time is not effective on enhancing the UV protec-
Thermo-Gravimetric Analysis (TGA) of the un-
treated polyester fabric and treated sample with plasma-
Al2O3 (on sample) at 1.3 watt for 2 min were studied.
The start and the end of degradation temperatures, peak
temperature as well as the corresponding loss in weight
of both untreated and treated polyester fabric are given in
Table 3. These values indicate that the thermal stability
of the treated polyester fabric may increase due to the
increase in start and end of degradation temperatures
accompanied by a slight decrease in the corresponding
loss in weight. The plasma-Al2O3 treatment caused a
significant change in thermal behavior of polyester fabric.
The increase in thermal stability of treated sample may
reflect on enhancing the flame retardancy of polyester
fabric as will be shown later.
Flame Retardancy: Table 4 shows the flammability
of plasma-Al2O3 treated polyester fabric. It can be seen
that both the burning time and burning rate are influ-
enced by this treatment. The burning time increases from
39 sec for untreated sample to 50 sec for sample treated
with air plasma-Al2O3 (on sample) at 1.3 watt for 2 min
while the burning rate decreases from 230 mm/min to
180 mm/min for the same samples. These results reflect
on enhancing the flame retardancy of polyester fabric. It
could be also seen that spreading the powder on sample
is more effective on enhancing the fire retarding property
than spreading it on the electrode disk. This may be be-
cause of the metal hydroxides tending to be endothermic
water-releasing systems as reported elsewhere [23]. These
results hold true with the TGA results whereas the start
and end of degradation temperatures are found to be in-
creased meaning that the thermal stability of PET fabric
has increased.
It could be concluded from the previous results that air
plasma treatment at 1.3 watt for 2 min after spreading
Al2O3 powder on sample gives the highest effect on en-
Table 2. Whiteness index (W. I.), yellowness index (Y. I.) and UPF of treated polyester fabric.
Polyester Sample Y. I. W. I. Change in WI (%) UPF
Untreated 15.6 112.0 0 8.0
Treated with plasma-Al2O3 (on sample) for: 2 min 16.4 116 3.6 16.0
5 min 16.0 115 2.7 15.0
10 min 13.0 108 -3.6 14.0
Treated with plasma-Al2O3 (on electrode) for 10 min 13.0 108 -3.6 8.0
Treated with plasma-Ti O2 for: 2 min - - - 48.3
Treatment conditions: 1.3 watt.
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. MSA
Ultraviolet Protection, Flame Retardancy and Antibacterial Properties of Treated Polyester Fabric
Using Plasma-Nano Technology
Table 3. TGA of air plasma-Al2O3 (on sample) treated polyester fabric.
Polyester Sample Start of Degradation Temperature ˚C End of Degradation Temperature ˚CPeak Temperature ˚C Weight Loss %
Untreated 291.58 430.79 395.42 83.02
Treated 320.96 438.49 407.28 80.04
Treatment conditions: 1.3 watt, 2 min.
Table 4. Flammability of air plasma-Al2O3 treated polyester fabric.
Polyester Sample Burning Time (sec) Burning Rate (mm/min)
Untreated 39 230
Treated (on sample) for: 2 min 50 180
10 min 40 225
Treated (on disk) for : 2 min 43 209
10 min 39 230
Treatment conditions: 1.3 watt.
hancing UPF and flame retardancy of polyester fabric. So,
these optimum conditions are applied on treatment of
PET with TiO2 NPs.
3.2. Treatment of PET with Air Plasma-Nano
Polyester fabric was treated with air plasma after spread-
ing of 1 % (owf) of nano TiO2 (<100 nm) on the sample
at 1.3 watt for 2 min. The changes induced in the fibre
properties were evaluated through measuring of trans-
mission electron microscopy (TEM) and UPF.
Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) of air
plasma-nano TiO2 loaded PET fabrics was carried out
using JEOL Electron Microscope JEM 1230, JOEL Ltd.,
Tokyo, Japan. Figure 3(a) shows the TEM graph of plas-
ma-TiO2 treated polyester fiber after washing about 20
times. The size of the TiO2 NPs ranged from 30 to 90 nm.
The spacing between the NPs on the fibers was observed
to be irregular. The heterogeneous deposition of the TiO2
on the textiles is probably due to the etching of air
plasma and non homogeneous distribution of NPs on the
textile surface. TiO2 NPs have sufficient binding strength
with the fibre surface which may be related to the surface
modification by plasma such as chemical composition or
surface roughness or combination of these effects. It was
supposed that TiO2 NPs formed complexes with oxygen
atom built on fibre surface after plasma treatment. TiO2
NPs could be adsorbed on surface with –COOH groups
by forming hydrogen bond or by bounding with two
oxygen atoms [7,8,20].
The UPF of air plasma-nano TiO2 treated PET fabric
at 1.3 watt for 2 min was found to be 48.3 (>40) which
means that the treated fabric has excellent protection
against UV radiation (Table 2).
3.3. Treatment of PET with Air Plasma-Nano Ag
Polyester fabric was treated with air plasma-nano Ag via
two techniques. The first is by spreading of 1% (owf) of
nano Ag (<100 nm) on the sample followed by air
plasma treatment at 1.3 watt for 2 min. The second tech-
nique is by padding polyester samples in a solution con-
taining 1% (owf) of the nano-Ag, squeezed to pick up
100% and air dried, then treated with air plasma at dis-
charge power of 1.3 and 2 watt for 1and 2 min. All
treated samples are washed several times (20 times) in a
soap solution at 40˚C and thoroughly rinsed with water.
The effect of this treatment on the fibre properties was
evaluated by measuring TEM and antibacterial activity.
TEM of air plasma-nano Ag treated PET fabrics was
shown in Figure 3(b). The size of the Ag NPs is less
than 100 nm. It could be noticed also that the Ag NPs are
dipped perfectly on the fibre surface that reflect posi-
tively on fibre durability for antibacterial activity after
washing several times.
Antibacterial Activity: Silver was found to be effec-
tive in killing over 650 disease-causing microorganisms
and it is active against gram-negative bacteria such as
Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Based on this hypothesis,
Figure 4 shows the photos of inhibition zone of both
treated (a) and untreated (b) polyester samples. As the
diameter of the clear zone of inhibition increases, the
antibacterial activity of the fibre increases. Table 5 re-
presents the values of inhibition zone diameters (mm) of
treated polyester fabric with air plasma-Ag NPs. The
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. MSA
Ultraviolet Protection, Flame Retardancy and Antibacterial Properties of Treated Polyester Fabric 1439
Using Plasma-Nano Technology
Figure 3. (a) TEM of air plasma-nano TiO2 treated PET fiber at 1.3 watt for 2 min; (b) TEM of air plasma-nano Ag treated
PET fibre at 1.3 watt for 2 min.
antibacterial activity of all treated PET fabrics was im-
proved. The second treatment technique (padding) is
found to be more effective on enhancing the antibacterial
activity. It is noticed that the maximum inhibition zone
could be attained upon using the second technique at
discharge power of 1.3 watt for 2 min, while the mini-
mum value was observed for sample treated by the first
technique (spreading the NPs on the sample). Three me-
chanisms of silver antibacterial effect have been pro-
posed [24]: 1) interference with bacterial electron trans-
port; 2) binding to the bacterial DNA and inactivate it
and 3) interaction with cell wall membrane forming re-
versible complexes on the cell surface and preventing
dehydro-oxygenation process.
Tensile Properties: The tensile strength and elonga-
tion % at break of untreated PET sample are 125 kg and
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. MSA
Ultraviolet Protection, Flame Retardancy and Antibacterial Properties of Treated Polyester Fabric
Using Plasma-Nano Technology
(a) (b)
Figure 4. Photos of inhibition zone of treated (a) and untreated (b) PET samples.
Table 5. Antibacterial properties of air plasma-nano Ag treated polyester fabric.
Sample E-coli (G-ve)Pseudomonas (G-ve)Staphylococcus (G+ve)
Untreated 0 0 0
Treated at: 1.3 watt, 2 min (on sample) 11 12 12
1.3 watt, 1 min (padding) 15 17 16
1.3 watt, 2 min (padding) 18 20 19
2 watt, 1 min (padding) 18 18 18
2 watt, 2 min (padding) 18 20 19
Inhibition zone: - no activity, + 1 - 5 mm, + + 6 - 9 mm, + + + 10 - 19 mm, + + + + 20 - 29 mm.
50% respectively compared to 120 - 125 kg and 45% -
50% for treated samples. Therefore, it seems that the
plasma impact damage to the fabric is negligible.
Coloration Behavior: Polyester fabrics are dyeable
and printable with disperse dyes. The colour intensity
(K/S) of untreated and treated PET fabric with plasma-
Al2O3, plasma-nanoTiO2 and plasma-nano Ag at 1.3 watt
for 2 min and dyed at 100˚C was measured. The results
show that the treatment brings out a slight increase in
colour intensity compared to the untreated one whereas
the highest colour intensity (K/S) of treated fabric with
plasma-TiO2 was found to be 3.7 compared to 3.4 for
untreated one (Table 6). Since the dyeability of PET
fabric has been related to hydrophilicity and/or increase
of micro roughness and surface morphological modifica-
tion therefore, plasma treatment can increase the diffu-
sion of the dye molecules into the fibre and consequently
improves the fibres dyeability [8,25]. Also, the printabil-
ity of treated fabric with plasma-Al2O3 at 1.3 watt for 2
min was tried. The colour intensity of treated sample in-
creased from 13.4 for untreated sample to 14.2 for treated
one. The washing fastness of coloured treated samples is
estimated to be 4 or 4 - 5 which almost the same for the
untreated one (Table 6).
4. Conclusions
The possibility of using atmospheric plasma DBD to
facilitate the deposition of Al2O3, nano silver and nano
TiO2 onto polyester fabric was investigated. Multifunc-
tional polyester fabric was produced. It was found that
the results depend on the plasma discharge power and
exposure time. Treatment of PET with plasma-Al2O3
indicated that whiteness index and surface roughness
were dependent on the time of exposure. The TGA ana-
lysis and flame retardancy tests at 1.3 watt for 2 min in-
dicate that this treatment caused an improvement in
thermal stability and flame retardancy which was found
to be more effective upon using the technique of spread-
ing the powder on the sample rather than on the electrode
disk. UPF was also improved. Plasma-nano TiO2 treat-
ment resulted in a noticeable enhancement in UPF of
polyester fabric. Treatment with plasma-nano Ag was
evaluated by the measurements of antibacterial activity
which was found to be improved. It was also concluded
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Ultraviolet Protection, Flame Retardancy and Antibacterial Properties of Treated Polyester Fabric 1441
Using Plasma-Nano Technology
Table 6. Colour strength (K/S) of dyed and printed PET fabric.
washing fastness
Sample K/S
alt st.
1. Dyed PET samples: untreated 3.4 4 - 5 4
treated with plasma-Al2O3 3.6 4 - 5 4 - 5
treated with plasma-TiO2 3.7 4 - 5 4 - 5
treated with plasma-Ag 3.6 4 4 - 5
2. Printed PET samples: untreated 13.4 4 4
treated with plasma-Al2O3 14.2 4 4
Treatment: 1% (owf), 1.3 watt, 2 min; Dyeing: 1% (owf) C. I. Disperse Blue 56, 100˚C, 30 min, pH 4.5, liq. ratio 1:50.
that the colourations and fastness behaviour of the treated
fabric was slightly improved over the untreated samples.
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