Chemical Engineering Journal, Vol.358, 634-642, 2019
Insight into multifunctional polyester fabrics finished by one-step eco-friendly strategy
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) has been widely used in fabrics owing to its great mechanical properties, easy processability and quick drying. However, PET-based products always suffer from uncomfortable low sweat uptake and electrostatic charge buildup mainly due to its bad surface wettability. Moreover, porous fabrics may induce unfavorable mite and microorganism reproduction. Due to lack of reactive groups on the PET skeleton, it was very difficult to endow its surface hydrophilicity, antistatic properties, perdurable antimicrobial and anti-mite properties by conventional methods. In this work, we develop a one-step eco-friendly finishing strategy for PET fabrics through photochemical reaction using benzophenone group terminated quaternary ammonium salt (BP-QAS) as the finishing reagent. The as-finished PET fibers changed from incompact state to compact state due to the increased cohesive forces within individual fibers, resulting in improved tearing strength. The PET fabrics show significantly improved hydrophilicity, and antistatic properties. Furthermore, the as-finished PET fabrics exhibit excellent, durable broad-spectrum antimicrobial activities against gram-negative, gram-positive, drug-resistant bacteria and fungi. Moreover, our fabric shows long-lasting antimicrobial properties above AAA requirements after 50 laundering cycles. Usual PET fabrics generally have difficulty achieving AAA standards after 10 laundering cycles. In addition, our as-prepared fabrics showed excellent anti-mite activities against house dust mites based on disruption of the microbial and mite membrane due to oxidation stress, while no negative effects were observed for mouse and rabbit. The finished PET fabrics can be applied to multiple industries to prevent infectious diseases and improve public health, including but not limited to packaging, clothes, water treatment, and medical appliances.