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Toward a Sustainable Approach for Durably Hydrophilic and UV Protective PET Fabric through Surface Activation and Immobilization Integrating Epigallocatechin Gallate and Citric Acid

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posted on 2024-07-10, 21:13 authored by Yuyang Zhou, Feiyang Zheng, Jiahong Zuo, Yiming Xu, Yening Li, Keqin Zhang
Enhancing the hydrophilicity and UV protective property of poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) fabric are two significant ways to upgrade its quality and enlarge the applicable area. Biobased finishes are greatly welcomed for the fabrication of sustainable textiles; however, their application on PET fabric is still challenging compared with the case of natural fabric. This study presents a strategy that immobilizes epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) onto PET fabric using citric acid (CA) for durably hydrophilic and UV-proof properties with negligible color change. A controllable surface-activating method integrating alkaline and deep eutectic solvent (DES) is customized for the PET fabric to promote the reactions among PET, CA, and EGCG. The hydrophilic, antistatic, and UV protective properties of functionalized PET fabric were explored. Results show that the hydrophilicity of the PET fabric after direct EGCG treatment increases but drops sharply after first-round washing due to weak interactions. The combined alkaline/DES pretreatment increases the number of hydrophilic groups and the roughness of PET fibers. After EGCG modification, the moisture regain (MR) of PET fabric increases from 0.41 to 0.64%. The contact angle and electrostatic charge half-life (T1/2) decreases from >120 to 23°, and from >60 to 0.13 s, respectively. The MR and T1/2 are well retained after a 10-cycle washing. In addition, the UV protective factor of the PET fabric increases from 18 to 36. A very slight yellowing phenomenon occurs on the PET fabric after the treatment. In all, this research attempts to integrate a biobased finishing agent and an eco-friendly cross-linker on synthetic fiber for durable functions, which is transferrable to the sustainable fabrication of other polymeric materials such as fibers or films.

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