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New Coating Prevents Synthetic Fabrics Shedding Dangerous Microplastics When In The Wash

Researchers from the University of Toronto have developed a new coating that prevents synthetic fibers from shedding synthetic fabrics in the washing machine. They hope that this will help to reduce the number of dangerous microplastics that are released into the wash. These microplastics then end up going down the waterways and into the environment, where they can enter oceans and rivers and even harm wildlife.

Man taking clothes out of a washing machine.

As explained by Toronto University, the new coating is made from polydimethylsiloxane brushes, which are "linear, single polymer chains grown from a substrate to form a nanoscale surface layer". Even better, the coating is even environmentally friendly, unlike most polymers that are currently used. So, how does it work? Interestingly, the coating prevents fibers from rubbing together and breaking off while they're being washed, ultimately helping to prevent dangerous fibers from entering the environment.

While conducting their research, the researchers from the University of Toronto found that the coating greatly reduced the amount of microfibre shedding, even after multiple washes.

“With the addition of Sudip’s primer, our coating is robust enough to remain on the garment and continue to reduce micro-fibre shedding over time," explained Kevin Golovin, an assistant professor of mechanical and industrial engineering in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering.

After developing their new coating, the researchers are aiming to directly solve the problem. They hope that this will help to reduce the environmental impact of microfibre shedding entering into the environment.

Another development that aims to stop microplastics from entering the environment includes fish robots, which can even remove them from cracks and crevices.

Article Credit -
University of Toronto