Quality Fabric Of The Month: Like Water Rolling Off A Duck’s Back

reensboro, N.C.-based Galey & Lord Inc. is using new cutting-edge technology to give its cotton fabrics permanent water repellence and stain and wrinkle resistance. The venerable fabric manufacturer has recently been licensed to use technology developed by Nano-Tex LLC, also based in Greensboro, in its fabrics for the bottomswear market
(See K/A News, ATI, February 2001). Nano-Tex, a privately held research company with majority ownership by Burlington Industries Inc., Burlington, N.C., develops nanotechnology for use in textiles. By means of polymer chemistry applications, nanoparticles are permanently attached to cotton or synthetic fibers. The change occurs at the molecular level, and the particles can be configured to imbue the fabric with various attributes. 

“Nanotechnology combines the performance characteristics associated with synthetics with the hand and feel of cotton,” said Delores Sides, director of corporate communications, Burlington. She cited its application for everyday fabrics used in business and casual wear.


Through Nano-Care technology, nano-whiskers are attached to individual cotton fibers. The
whiskers cause liquids to roll off the fabric.

Nano-Care™ For Cotton
Through Nano-Tex’s Nano-Care™ technology for cotton, “nano whiskers” 1/1000 the size of a typical cotton fiber are attached to the individual fibers. The changes to the fibers are undetectable and do not affect the natural hand and breathability of the fabric. The whiskers cause liquids to roll off the fabric. Semi-solids such as ketchup or salad dressing sit on the surface, are easily lifted off and cause minimal staining, which should be removed with laundering.

The attributes provided by Nano-Care have traditionally been added by the use of coatings, which affect the fabric’s inherent qualities, or by other treatments that eventually wash or fade away. While Nano-Care provides the above attributes, it also allows moisture to pass through the fabric, which is quick-drying as well.

Galey & Lord is the first cotton fabric manufacturer to be licensed by Nano-Tex to use Nano-Care in its products.

“We are excited to be a part of this exciting new technology,” said Arthur C. Wiener, chairman and CEO, Galey & Lord. “Our partnership with Nano-Tex will expand our ability to provide innovative products to our customers. We believe the extraordinary performance of these
products will have strong appeal to consumers.”

The first fabrics — 8-ounce combed and carded 3×1 twills — have recently been introduced, and the company has shown them to all of its major customers, which include some of the top names
in sportswear The response has been excellent, according to Robert J. McCormack, president, Galey & Lord. In the coming months, consumers can expect to see pants and skirts made from the new fabrics in retail stores at a cost about $5 higher than those made from non-treated fabrics.

McCormack mentioned the advantages of the fabrics for golfers and others who might find themselves, perhaps unexpectedly, out in the rain or other inclement weather. Because the fabric sheds water like a duck’s feathers, the wearer will stay dry, at least as far as he or she is
covered by the garment.

Other Nano-Fabrics On The Market

Nano-Tex has also developed Nano-Dry™ technology to provide wick ability and moisture-absorption properties for nylon and polyester fabrics. Nano-Dry is being introduced in synthetic fabrics produced by Burlington PerformanceWear. Among the applications for these fabrics
is high-performance outerwear.

Sides mentioned using the technology in uniform fabrics because of its comfort aspects. Research is progressing on other products as well.

For more information about Galey & Lord’s Nano-Care fabrics, contact Galey & Lord sales, (212) 465-3000. For more information about Nano-Tex, contact Delores Sides, (336)

March 2001