Kickstarter has been a widely sought website for the purpose of raising funds for experimenters, companies, inventors and, generally, entrepreneurs. It has caught the attention of numerous investors and people looking to donate for a small reward. Although most nanotechnology is still in the lab and not quite in “the fab,” it is still slowly making its way into the market and most interestingly, clothing.
A recent project dubbed Silic, that is being funded as we speak, led by a group of young entrepreneurs, aims to establish a new kind of shirt, that of which is completely hydrophobic (that means it repels any kind of liquid). Although we have seen some coatings and hydrophobic powders become popular in the past few years, there have never been clothes with the hydrophobic qualities “built-in.” Most sprays for repelling liquid on clothing that are currently sold on the market are, according to the Kickstarter team, reportedly hazardous and cancer-causing.
Aamir Patel, the leader of the group says “The fabric has nanotechnology bonded to the fibers on the microscopic level. Most liquid molecules will not be able to touch the fabric because of a microscopic layer of air that forms between the liquid and fabric.”
The fabric is made and then layered with silica nanoparticles (billions of them) which then produces larger hydrophobic surface area. When water-based liquids are poured onto the fabric, the molecules accumulate into 150-degree angled spheres, which then essentially “roll” off the t-shirt. The team demonstrates these effects in the featured video, where they dump numerous types of liquids on the t-shirt. According to the team, the shirts can be washed up to 80 times before losing their hydrophobic properties.
The project’s initial goal of raising $20,000 USD has been far surpassed by a whopping $112,254 in funding. There are currenly 1,690 funders at this time and there are still 33 days of funding to go. A donation of $40 is the lowest donation that one can give to receive a t-shirt, which awards the buyer when the project has been completed. On the other hand, a donation of $10 gets you a section of the material, for showing off.