Raleigh, N.C.-based North Carolina State University (NCSU) has opened a development center for a
new atmospheric plasma system that provides an economical, eco-friendly process for the application
of performance properties, such as water and stain repellency and moisture management, to apparel
and other textiles. According to NCSU, clothing finished using the new process may stay clean
longer and have higher comfort levels than garments finished using traditional processes.
APJeT Inc., Santa Fe, N.M.-based exclusive licensee of Atmospheric Pressure Plasma Jet
technology; Allentown, Pa.-based Air Products and Chemicals Inc., a provider of atmospheric gases,
process and specialty gases, and other products and services; and Morrison Textile Machinery Co., a
Fort Lawn, S.C.-based manufacturer of textile dyeing and finishing machinery, are participating
with NCSU in the project.
The new facility will test the atmospheric plasma system and evaluate its efficacy on a range
of materials. Textile chemistry and polymer science undergraduate and graduate students will
receive training on the center’s equipment and will work with laboratory and APJeT staff in testing
the system and developing processes and products. Companies will be able to test the system for
finishing their products, including woven, nonwoven and knit materials.
“The goal is to not only replace conventional application of finishes, but to develop novel
methods and original products you would not be able to get with conventional systems,” said Dr.
Peter Hauser, professor and director of graduate programs, NCSU College of Textiles. “This new
system will benefit the entire textile industry, as well as the state of North Carolina, and shows
that NC State is on the cutting edge of technology.”
By using ionized gas to apply a nanolayer coating to a fabric to provide water and stain
repellency and moisture management, the atmospheric plasma system eliminates the use of water
required for conventional chemical-based wet treatments and, thus, the need for wastewater
treatment as well as the need to heat-cure and dry the treated fabric. The treatment also enables a
fabric to exhibit repellency on one side and moisture management on the other.
October 7, 2008