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New Fabric Inspired by Nature Repairs Itself

Researchers at Pennsylvania State University have created a self-repairing fabric. A biodegradable solution is the trick to creating long-lasting and durable garments. The mixture of bacteria and yeast is similar to a protein found in squid tentacles and can be applied to fabrics such as polyester and cotton.

This coating can also be useful in breaking down harmful pesticides that may remain on clothing after production. The liquid contains enzymes that can break down specific targets, anything from urea to insecticides and herbicides. This could be a breakthrough in protecting field workers and farmers from these pesticides and harmful chemicals. Remarkably, the liquid isn’t noticeable to the wearer and doesn’t change the quality and feel of the fabric. It also doesn’t wash away after going through the washing machine.

More recently, Canada’s Herschel Supply Co. has developed a fabric called Sealtech. Essentially it is a water resistant nylon that can mend its own rips and tears with just a little heat and friction. Currently it is available in two bags but has potential to be used in clothing in the future.

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