Research Materials Engineer, Southern Regional Research Center (SRRC), ARS-USDASunghyun Nam is a research materials engineer in the US Department of Agriculture in New Orleans, Louisiana. She graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a Ph.D. in Polymer, Textile, and Fiber Engineering. Her research interests include the integration of nanotechnology into cotton chemistry and processes to provide a unique scientific platform on which to enhance cotton's place in the nonwovens textile market.
Thursday 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
Substrate Innovation: Revolutionary Fibers & Fabric Performance II
Nanoengineered Cotton Wipes
Advances in nanotechnology are creating synergy with nonwoven technology in cleaning and/or disinfecting power for the next generation of wipe products. However, there is little known about the use of cotton fiber in wipes as a nanoengineering tool, which self-produces silver nanoparticles - one of the most powerful antimicrobial agents. Here, we showed that cotton itself enabled to synthesize silver nanoparticles in the outer cell layer of the fiber, i.e., the cuticle and the primary wall. Noncellulosic components present on the outer layer effectively reduced silver ions into elemental silver. The subsequent growth of particles on the solid surface was stable, producing nanoparticles approximately 20 nm in diameter without using any stabilizing agents, which are usually required in solution phase synthesis to prevent the agglomeration of nanoparticles. This new biogenic synthesis, which does not rely on toxic reducing agents, stabilizing agents, and organic solvents, is low-cost and reliable green processes. The low-weight hydroentangled wipes made of the nanosilver-cotton fiber exhibited 100% and 99.98% reductions in the cell viability of the Gram-negative Pseudomonas aeruginosa and the Gram-positive Staphylococcus aureus, respectively, in the wipe efficacy testing.