First respondersNew cloth captures noxious gasses, odors

Published 14 April 2011

Cornell university students develop a new cloth that can capture noxious gasses and odors — and that can be fashioned into masks or hooded shirts to be used by soldiers and first responders; the garments use metal organic framework molecules (MOFs) and cellulose fibers

A senior at Cornell University developed a new cloth that can capture noxious gasses and odors – and that can be fashioned into masks or hooded shorts to be used by soldiers and first responders.

The garments use metal organic framework molecules (MOFs) and cellulose fibers.

Cornell’s Chronicle Online quotes Jennifer Keane, a fiber science and apparel design major, to say that MOFs, which are clustered crystalline compounds, can be manipulated at the nanolevel to have cages that are the exact same size as the gas they are trying to capture.

“The initial goal of attaching the MOFs to fibers was sponsored by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. We wanted to harness the power of these molecules to absorb gases and incorporate these MOFs into fibers, which allows us to make very efficient filtration systems,” assistant fiber science professor Juan Hinestroza told the Chronicle.

The first staged of the research were difficult, as crystalline molecules are similar to powder that cannot easily become part of cloth. These difficulties were overcome, and “Now we can make large surfaces of fabric coated with MOFs, and we are looking at scaling up this technology to nanofibers,” said Hinestroza. “This type of work would only be possible at a place like Cornell where you have this unique merging of disciplines, where a fashion designer can interact easily with a chemist or a materials scientist.”

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