Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Materials Science and Engineering

Committee Chair/Advisor

Luzinov, Igor

Committee Member

Kornev, Konstantin

Committee Member

Mefford, Thompson

Committee Member

Hirt, Douglas

Committee Member

Zdyrko, Bogdan


The level of wetting of fiber surface with liquids is an important characteristic of fibrous materials. It is related to fiber surface energy and the structure of the material. Surface energy can be changed by surface modification via the grafting methodologies that have been reported for introducing new and stable functionality to fibrous substrates without changing bulk properties.

Present work is dedicated to synthesis and characterization of macromolecular layers grafted to fiber surface in order to achieve directional liquid transport for the modified fabric. Modification technique used here is based on formation of stable polymer layer on fabric surface using "grafting to" technique.

Specifically, modification of fabric with wettability gradient for facilitated one way-liquid transport, and pointed modification of yarn-based channels on textile microfluidic device for directional liquid transport are reported here. First, fabric was activated with alkali (NaOH) solution. Second, poly (glycidyl methacrylate) (PGMA) was deposited on fabric as an anchoring layer. Finally, polymers of interest were grafted to surface through the epoxy functionality of PGMA.

Effect of polymer grafting on the wicking property of the fabric has been evaluated by vertical wicking technique at the each step of surface modification. The results shows that wicking performance of fabric can be altered by grafting of a thin nanoscale polymeric film.

For the facilitated liquid transport, the gradient polymer coating was created using "grafting to" technique and its dependence on the grafting temperature. Wettability gradient from hydrophilic to hydrophobic (change in water contact angle from 0 to 140 degrees on fabric) was achieved by grafting of polystyrene (PS) and polyacrylic acid (PAA) sequentially with concentration gradient. This study proposes that fabric with wettability gradient property can be used to transfer sweat from skin and support moisture management when it is used in a laminated garment structure. For cooling performance evaluation, modified fabrics were tested with surface differential scanning calorimeter, and improved cooling effect was found with the fabric that has wettability gradient.

Directional liquid transport can be achieved on amphiphilic fabric. To this end, fabric consisting of PET and PP yarn is fabricated. Activation and PGMA deposition yields an array of highly reactive PET channels that are constrained by hydrophobic PP boundaries. Aqueous solutions are transported in the channels by capillary forces where the direction of the liquid transport is defined by pH-response of the grafted polymers. The system of pH-selective channels in the developed textile based microfluidic chip could find analytical applications and can be used for smart cloth.



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