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Facile and Effective Fabrication of Highly UV-Resistant Silk Fabrics with Excellent Laundering Durability and Thermal and Chemical Stabilities

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journal contribution
posted on 17.07.2019 by Huiyu Yang, Zhenwei Yu, Ke Li, Lang Jiang, Xin Liu, Bo Deng, Fengxiang Chen, Weilin Xu
As the most favored high-quality biopolymer, silk fiber is widely used in the textile and medical industries owing to its impressive mechanical properties, wear comfort properties, and biocompatibility. However, its photoinstability, chemical instability, and thermal instability seriously hinder its utilization in luxurious fashionable apparels. Therefore, we herein report the preparation of an ultrathin and uniform TiO2–Al2O3 cloth with a thickness of just six in a thousand of fiber on silkworm silk fiber via atomic layer deposition. In this ultrathin composite cloth, the outer TiO2 layer acts as a sacrificial ultraviolet (UV) absorbent to dissipate large amounts of UV energy. Free radicals and electrons generated by the TiO2 layer are effectively blocked outside the surface of the bulk silk fiber by the inner insulating Al2O3 layer. The excellent UV-resistance of the modified silk fiber was confirmed by a lack of fade in the silk fabric after exposure to UV light for 60 min (equal to continuous exposure to strong sunlight for 3285 days). Compared with silk fiber, the tenacity of the prepared SF-200Al2O3–800TiO2 increased by 18.9% even after sunlight exposure. In addition, both the chemical and thermal stabilities of the modified silk fiber were improved. This technology is expected to have potential applications in various fields, such as high-end fabric development and smart materials, and will further guide material design for future innovations in functional fibers and devices.