RMIT University researchers in Australia are using a natural biopolymer found in crustaceans to create odour-repellent fabrics for use in the automotive industry.
The researchers are studying how specialised fabrics could provide smart solutions for car interiors, resisting odours and staying cleaner for longer.
Dr Rajiv Padhye, discipline head, higher education at the School of Fashion and Textiles, said the researchers were working on various concepts for a number of automotive companies.
He said: ‘These include automotive fabrics that have anti-odour and antimicrobial properties, and anti-stain fabrics.’
For the anti-odour research, various fragrance oils were applied to 100 per cent polyester woven automotive fabric — the predominant fabric used in the industry — in combination with chitosan.
Chitosan, a natural biopolymer sourced from the structural element in the exoskeleton of crustaceans such as crabs and shrimps, was selected because of its film-forming ability and antimicrobial attributes.
The study found combining chitosan with the fragrance oil produced a durable fragrance finish in the fabric and gave it excellent antimicrobial properties.
Student Saniyat Islam carried out the research under the supervision of Dr Olga Troynikov.