Multifunctional Textile Coating of Military Fabrics

Period of Performance: 01/01/2015 - 12/31/2015

$501K

Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

Materials Modification, Inc.
2809-K Merrilee Drive Array
Fairfax, VA 22031
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

Gaston College
7220 Wilkinson Blvd
Belmont, NC 28012
Institution POC

Abstract

"US Army?s combat uniform systems currently use NyCo fabrics which are made using a 50% nylon/50% cotton blend. Army Combat Utility (ACU) uniforms have excellent comfort and durability but lack flame resistance (FR). The US Army relies on expensive FR fabrics for protecting warfighters against fire hazards. These FR fabrics are typically made using specialty fibers such as Lenzing FR? rayon fibers and have to be imported into the US. Instead of using these expensive fabrics, it will be economical to impart FR property on the NyCo fabric by treating them with flame resistant materials/coatings. In the Phase I effort, Materials Modification Inc. (MMI) has investigated a family of ionic liquids as FR materials for NyCo fabrics. Selective ionic liquids exhibited excellent FR properties. These ionic liquids are non-flammable, high temperature stable (>250C), non-volatile liquids, non-toxic to humans, and are also amenable to coating on textile fabrics. Unlike conventional FR chemicals, ionic liquids are colorless and do not interfere with the other properties of the military fabrics such as camouflage, air permeability and flexibility. Along with the flame resistant property these ionic liquids also exhibited antistatic properties demonstrating the potential multi-functional capabilities. In the Phase II effort, the FR coatings downselected from the Phase I effort will be optimized for superior performance on NyCo fabrics. The scale up production of FR ionic liquids will be demonstrated. A roll-to-roll dip and padding production process will be used to produce several yards of coated fabrics (500 yards). The coated fabrics will be tested for reproducible performance of flame retardancy, antistatic properties and launderability in collaboration with our academic and industrial partners. The optimized FR treated NyCo fabrics will be assembled into a prototype Flame Resistant Army Combat Uniform (FR-ACU) for the evaluation by the US Army at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center. "