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Title:
METHOD TO INCORPORATE PARTICLES IN NATURAL FIBERS AND MATERIALS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2020/223411
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Embodiments of the present invention relate to materials containing performance-enhancing particles. In particular, but not by way of limitation, the invention is related to mechanically attaching a performance-enhancing particle to various substrates including, but not limited to, natural materials such as cotton, wool, and down.

Inventors:
HAGGQUIST GREGORY (US)
VINSON RACHEL (US)
MULDOON DEVIN (US)
Application Number:
US2020/030560
Publication Date:
November 05, 2020
Filing Date:
April 29, 2020
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
COCONA INC (US)
International Classes:
D06M23/08; D06M11/79; D06M13/382; D06M101/06; D06M101/10
Foreign References:
US20100206804A12010-08-19
EP0953675A21999-11-03
KR20030007659A2003-01-23
JP2015083725A2015-04-30
US20040116018A12004-06-17
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
JACKSON, Jason (US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. A method for attaching an active particle to a substrate, the method comprising:

a. dispersing a plurality of polymer-chain-coupled particles in a solvent, wherein i. each polymer-chain-coupled particle comprises at least one polymer chain and an active particle with a diameter of 0.2 pm - 50 pm, and

ii. the solvent relaxes the at least one polymer chain;

b. adding a substrate to the organic solvent to create a mixture, wherein the substrate comprises a fiber; and

c. adding a non-solvent to the mixture, wherein

i. the non-solvent causes the polymer chain to collapse and mechanically bond to the substrate, and

ii. the mechanical bond is not a chemical bond.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the active particle has a porosity of > 10 g/m2 .

3. The method of claim 1, wherein the active particle adsorbs 1% - 50% (w/w) water.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein the active particle is not soluble in water or dimethylformamide.

5. The method of claim 1, wherein the active particle is a zeolite.

6. The method of any one of claims 1-5, wherein the substrate is added to the solvent at step (c) in an amount that provides a ratio by weight of 1%-10% of polymer-chain-coupled particles to substrate in the mixture.

7. The method of any one of claims 1-5, wherein the plurality of polymer-chain-coupled particles are made by combining the active particles with the polymer chains at a ratio of 3: 1 - 10: 1 by weight, respectively, wherein the polymer chain binds to the active particle through an epoxide bond.

8. The method of claim 7, wherein the polymer chains have an average length that is greater than ten units.

9. The method of claim 7, wherein the polymer chains have an average molecular weight of 100 Daltons - 5,000 Daltons.

10. The method of any one of claims 1-5, wherein the fiber comprises a natural fiber selected from the group consisting of cotton, wool, and down.

11. The method of any one of claims 1-5, wherein the solvent comprises an alcohol, and the non-solvent comprises water.

12. A method for making a functional fabric comprising the steps of:

a. combining zeolite particles with activated polydimethylsiloxane at by-weight ratio 3: 1 - 10: 1, respectively, in a solution containing isopropyl alcohol with a pH of 4- 5.5 adjusted with acetic acid to form polymer-chain-coupled particles; b. drying the polymer-chain-coupled particles to form a powder;

c. combining the powder with a fabric containing natural fibers in a ratio of 1%-10% (w/w), respectively, in 95% ethanol;

d. incubating the combination of step (c) for 5-30 minutes;

e. adding water to the combination at a volume that is at least 3-times the volume of the 95% ethanol and incubating about 5-30 minutes;

f. removing the ethanol and water from the fabric; and

g. drying the fabric.

13. A system comprising a substrate and a plurality of particles, wherein each of the particles is bonded to a plurality of polymer chains, and wherein the particles are mechanically bonded to the substrate by said plurality of polymer chains.

14. The system of claim 13, wherein the particles comprise active particles.

15. The system of claim 13, wherein the particles adsorb between one and 50 percent by weight of water.

16. The system of claim 13, wherein the particles comprise zeolites.

17. The system of claim 13, wherein the particles have a porosity of greater than 10 g/m2.

18. The system of claim 13, wherein the particles have an average particle diameter of between 0.2 and 50 microns, inclusive.

19. The system of any one of claims 13-18, wherein the particles comprise between one and ten percent of the weight of the substrate, inclusive.

20. The system of any one of claims 13-18, wherein the polymer chains are coupled to the particles using silanes or siloxanes.

21. The system of any one of claims 13-18, wherein the substrate comprises a natural fiber.

22. A system comprising a natural fiber and a plurality of active particles having a porosity of greater than 10 g/m2, wherein each of the active particles is bonded to a plurality of polymer chains using silanes or siloxanes, and wherein the active particles are mechanically bonded to the natural fiber by said plurality of polymer chains.

Description:
METHOD TO INCORPORATE PARTICLES IN NATURAL FIBERS AND

MATERIALS

PARENT CASE TEXT

[0001] This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/840,307 which was filed on April 29, 2019 and which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] This invention is related to materials with performance-enhancing or additive particles. In particular, but not by way of limitation, the invention is related to mechanically attaching a performance-enhancing particle to various substrates including, but not limited to, natural materials such as cotton, wool, and down.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] Performance-enhancing particles have been incorporated into fabrics using a number of methods. These methods range from printing on to membranes, to incorporating the particles on the textiles themselves, to incorporating particles into yam via a master batch from which the yam is created. These performance-enhancing particles can include adsorbent and absorbent particles. Descriptions of methods for making and using these particles, and integrating these particles into fabrics by chemical bonding, i.e., ionic or covalent bonding, can be found in US Patent No. 10,266,986, which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.

[0004] While the state of the art offers methods for making fabrics with performance-enhancing particles attached by chemical bonds, there remains a long-felt and unmet need for physicomechanical or other non-chemical methods for integrating performance-enhancing particles into fabrics to enable a greater range of substrate fiber types. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] Applicant describes herein systems and methods for making substrates containing performance-enhancing particles (either absorbent or adsorbent, preferably adsorbent) by incorporating those particles onto the surface of a substrate using a mechanical bond. As disclosed herein, those particles can be fixed to one or more polymer strands to form a polymer-chain- coupled particle (a.k.a., a particle-polymer strand complex or“hairy particle”), and those polymer strands are used to attach the particle to the surface of the substrate. In one embodiment, the polymer-chain-coupled particle is physically wrapped, aligned, or otherwise bonded to the substrate ( e.g fabric fiber) without employing a chemical bond. This is referred to herein as a physicomechanical bond or a mechanical bond. In futher embodiments, the polymer-chain- coupled particle may additionally be chemically bonded to the substrate.

[0006] Aspects and embodiments of the present invention teach methods, systems, apparatuses, and textiles that mechanically incorporate particle additives onto the surface of a substrate using polymer chains. The substrate can be any fiber, feather, or fabric, and includes natural materials such as cotton, wool, and down. The particle additives can comprise“active particles,” i.e., those particles that adsorb materials due to a large surface area (e.g., activated carbon or zeolites), and can be applied during a wash and rinse step. The particles can have any suitable size, and by way of example the size can vary from 100 nm to 50 pm. The terms“particles,”“particle additives,” and“performance-enhancing particle(s)” include but are not limited to“active particle(s)” as described herein.

[0007] In one aspect, a method for making polymer-chain-coupled particles, which contain particles and polymers, is provided. In one embodiment, the particles can be modified chemically to add polymer chains to the particles. There are several functional groups that can be used. In one embodiment, the method is to a family of chemicals termed silane couplers. In another embodiment, the method is to a family of chemicals termed siloxane couplers. These couplers have a hydrolyzable group that chemically reacts with and binds to the particles. The polymer- chain part of the silane coupler can be greater than 10 units, with longer chains being preferred. In various embodiments, the silane coupler is greater than 15 units, greater than 20 units, greater than 25 units, and in further embodiments up to 100,000 units. In these or other various embodiments, the silane coupler is greater than 15 units, greater than 20 units, greater than 25 units, and in further embodiments up to 100,000 units.

[0008] In another aspect, a method for attaching polymer-chain-coupled particles to a substrate is provided. In various embodiments, attaching polymer-chain-coupled particle additives to the substrate is accomplished by using an anchoring group on the polymer-chain-coupled particle. The anchoring group can have a reactive site that can attach to the substrate. In one embodiment, the attachment of the polymer-chain-coupled particle to the substrate is performed in a wash/rinse step. The particles that have the anchoring group are dispersed in an organic solvent that causes the polymer chains to expand or relax, such as an alcohol. The substrate is then added to the dispersion and mixed. The natural material is partially or fully covered by the dispersion. After mixing for a predetermined period of time, such as, e.g., 5 to 30 minutes, a non-solvent such as water is added to the dispersion. This causes the polymer chains to collapse on themselves and thereby partially or fully wrap around the substrate, creating a strong mechanical bond between the additive particles and the substrate.

[0009] In one embodiment, it is desirable to load the polymer-chain-coupled particles onto the substrate at a ratio of 0.1% w/w to 10% w/w, respectively, depending on the material application. The performance-enhancing particles can add a number of enhanced properties to the substrate such as thermoregulation function, warming function, cooling function, conductivity function, odor management function, and water vapor diffusion function to the substrate.

[00010] Further embodiments comprise methods of coupling or attaching one or more particles to a substrate, such as a fiber, that can be part of a textile product. In one embodiment, the fiber comprises a substrate operatively coupled to a particle additive using long polymer chains.

[00011] In various embodiments, the particle additive can adsorb between 1% to 50% per weight of water, have a porosity of > 15 g/m2, not soluble in water or dimethylformamide, and/or have an average particle diameter between 1 micron and 20 microns, inclusive.

[00012] In another aspect, a system, which contains a plurality of polymer-chain-coupled particles that are mechanically bonded to a substrate, is provided.

[00013] In one embodiment, the system is produced by (a) dispersing a plurality of polymer- chain-coupled particles in an organic solvent to expand the polymer chains of the polymer-chain- coupled particles, (2) adding a substrate to the organic solvent to create a mixture, and (3) adding a non-solvent to the mixture to cause the polymer chains to collapse and mechanically bond to the substrate.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[00014] Various objects and advantages and a more complete understanding of the present invention are apparent and more readily appreciated by reference to the following Detailed Description and to the appended claims when taken in conjunction with the accompanying Drawings wherein:

[00015] FIG. 1 depicts polymer-chain-coupled particles. FIG. 1A depicts a polymer-chain- coupled particle with its polymer chains 110 extended outward from the particle 120. FIG. IB depicts a polymer-chain-coupled particle with its polymer chains 110 collapsed. [00016] FIG. 2 depicts a polymer-chain-coupled particle with its polymer chains 120 wrapped around a substrate 130.

[00017] FIG. 3 is a flow chart depicting a process for attaching polymer-chain-coupled particles to a substrate.

PET ATT, ED DESCRIPTION

[00018] Definitions are given to the terms and phrases located within quotation marks (““) in the following paragraph. These definitions are intended to be applied to the terms and phrases throughout this document, including in the claims, unless clearly indicated otherwise in context. Further, as applicable, the stated definitions are to apply, regardless of the word or phrase's case, tense or any singular or plural variations of the defined word or phrase.

[00019] The term“or” as used in this specification and the appended claims is not meant to be exclusive; rather the term is inclusive meaning“either or both”. References in the specification to“one embodiment”,“an embodiment”,“a preferred embodiment”,“an alternative embodiment”, “a variation”,“one variation”, and similar phrases mean that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least an embodiment of the invention. The appearances of phrases like“in one embodiment”,“in an embodiment”, or “in a variation” in various places in the specification are not necessarily all meant to refer to the same embodiment or variation.

Mechanical coupling of yolymer-chain-couyled particles to a substrate

[00020] The invention provides a method for attaching a plurality of polymer-chain-coupled particles (“PCC particles” or“PCCP”) to a substrate. In a preferred embodiment, the PCCP is attached to the substrate with mechanical or fictional forces without forming a chemical bond (ionic or covalent) between the PCCP and substrate.

[00021] Referring to Fig. 3, in one embodiment, the method of attachment includes the sequential steps of (1) dispersing the plurality of polymer-chain-coupled particles in an organic solvent to expand the polymer chains, (2) adding the substrate to the organic solvent to create a mixture, and then (3) adding a non-solvent to the mixture to cause the polymer chains to collapse and mechanically bond to the substrate.

[00022] In some embodiments, the substrate is a natural fiber or a synthetic fiber. Preferably, the substrate is a natural fiber. In some embodiments, the natural fiber contains one or more of is one or more of cotton, wool, and down.

[00023] In one embodiment, the organic solvent is an alcohol. In one embodiment, the organic solvent contains one or more of an alkane hydrocarbon, an alkene hydrocarbon, an alkyne hydrocarbon, an ether, an aldehyde, an alcohol, and a ketone. In one embodiment, the organic solvent is an isoamyl alcohol, and isopropyl alcohol, or an ethyl alcohol. Preferably, the organic solvent is isopropyl alcohol.

[00024] In one embodiment, the non-solvent comprises water. In one embodiment, the organic solvent comprises ethyl alcohol and the non-solvent comprises water.

[00025] In one embodiment, the mixture has a pH of 4-5.5. In one embodiment, the pH is maintained using a buffer adjusted with an acid, such as acetate-acetic acid, phosphate buffer saline and hydrochloric acid, or the like. A preferred acid for maintaining pH is acetic acid.

[00026] In one embodiment, the mixture is mixed for 5-30 minutes, 5-20 minutes, 5-10 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minute, 25 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, or 60 minutes. [00027] In one embodiment, the polymer-chain-coupled particles are physically contacted to the surface of the substrate at a surface density of at least 1% by weight (w/w), 1% w/w, 2% w/w, 3% w/w, 4% w/w, 5% w/w, 10% w/w, 20% w/w, 25% w/w, 30% w/w, 40% w/w, or 50% w/w.

[00028] In a specific embodiment, the particles are reacted with polyether amines. The reacted particles (i.e., hairy particles) have been added to down feathers, a cotton fabric, and/or a wool fabric. The verification of the addition is done by FTIR and Ash of the material. Various prototypes include but are not limited by natural fabrics including Down samples, Cotton fabric and wool fabric.

[00029] In a specific embodiment, the plurality of polymer-chain-coupled particles (which collectively form a powder, a.k.a. powder) is treated with 10% mono-(2, 3 -epoxy )propyl ether terminated polydimethy] siloxane, asymmetric (hereinafter siloxane or siloxane polymer) in alcohol set to a pH of 4.0 to 5.5 using acetic acid. The powder is provided at 10% w/w of the cocoon natural fiber used. In a specific embodiment, the components of the mixture are 1.0 g siloxane polymer, 10.0 g polymer-chain-coupled particle powder, 100.0 g isopropyl alcohol, and acetic acid to pH 5. Table 1 shows the modified particles of Down and Fabric samples.

Table 1 : Modified Particles Down and Fabric Samples Summary

[00030] Table 2 provides the powder production. Table 2: Powder Production

Polymer -chain-coupled particles

[00031] Referring to Fig. 1, in one embodiment, each of the polymer-chain-coupled particles comprise a particle 120 and one or more polymer chains 110. In one embodiment, each of the polymer-chain-coupled particles consist essentially of a particle 120 and one or more polymer chains 110. Preferably, the particle 120 is a performance-enhancing particle such as an active particle, meaning that it can facilitate the movement of material, such as, e.g., water, from a proximal area to a distal area. For example, in those embodiments in which the particle is integrated into a fabric that is worn against a body, the active particles facilitate the movement of material, e.g, water, from the inner surface of the fabric (i.e., the proximal area) to the outer surface of the fabric (i.e., the distal surface). Here, the active particle contains pores that provide a very large surface area for adsorption and eventual movement of materials across the axis of the particle.

[00032] In one embodiment, the particles are not soluble in water or dimethylformamide. In one embodiment, the particles are not soluble in water. In one embodiment, the particles are not soluble in dimethylformamide.

[00033] In one embodiment, the particles adsorb 1% - 50% by weight of water, > 50% by weight of water, 50% - 100% by weight of water, 10% - 20% by weight of water, 15% - 25% by weight of water, 20% - 30% by weight of water, 25% - 35% by weight of water, 30% - 40% by weight of water, 35% - 45% by weight of water, 40% - 50% by weight of water, 45% - 55% by weight of water, 50% - 60% by weight of water, 55% - 65% by weight of water, 60% - 70% by weight of water, 65% - 75% by weight of water, 70% - 80% by weight of water, 75% - 85% by weight of water, 80% - 90% by weight of water, 85% - 90% by weight of water, 90% - 100% by weight of water, or 95% - 105% by weight of water.

[00034] In one embodiment, the particles have a porosity of greater than 10 g/m 2 , greater than 20 g/m 2 , greater than 30 g/m 2 , 10 g/m 2 - 20 g/m 2 , 15 g/m 2 - 25 g/m 2 , 20 g/m 2 - 30 g/m 2 , 25 g/m 2 - 35 g/m 2 , 30 g/m 2 - 40 g/m 2 , 35 g/m 2 - 45 g/m 2 , 40 g/m 2 - 50 g/m 2 , 45 g/m 2 - 55 g/m 2 , 50 g/m 2 - 60 g/m 2 , 55 g/m 2 - 65 g/m 2 , greater than 60 g/m 2 , 10 g/m 2 - 100 g/m 2 , 10 g/m 2 - 75 g/m 2 , or 15 g/m 2 - 80 g/m 2 .

[00035] In one embodiment, the particles 120 have an average particle diameter

[00036] In one embodiment, the particles have an average particle diameter of 0.2-50 microns, 0.2-40 microns, 0.2-30 microns, 0.2-20 microns, 0.2-10 microns, 0.2-5 microns, 0.2-1 microns, 1-25 microns, 0.1 microns, 0.5 microns, 1 micron, 5 microns, 10 microns, 15 microns, 20 microns, 25 microns, 30 microns, 35 microns, 40 microns, 45 microns, or 50 microns.

[00037] In one embodiment, the particles comprise l%-5%, no more than 10%, 1%, 2%, 3%, 4%, 5%, 6%, 7%, 8%, 9%, or 9% the weight of the substrate.

[00038] In a specific embodiment, the particles comprise zeolites.

[00039] In one embodiment, the plurality of polymer-chain-coupled particles are in powdered form.

The polymer chains

[00040] In one embodiment, the plurality of polymer-chain-coupled particles comprise an average of at least a one-to-one (1 : 1) particle-to-polymer mass ratio to no more than a twenty-to- one (20: 1) particle-to-polymer mass ratio, < 10: 1, 2:1, 3: 1, 4: 1, 5: 1, 6: 1, 7: 1, 8: 1, 9: 1, 10: 1, 11 : 1, 12: 1, 13: 1, 14: 1, 15: 1, 16:1, 17: 1, 18: 1, 19: 1, or 20: 1 particle-to-polymer mass ratio.

[00041] In one embodiment, the polymer chains have an average length that is 10 units, 11 units, 12 units, 13 units, 14 units, 15 units, 16 units, 17 units, 18 units, 19 units, 20 units, 21 units, 22 units, 23 units, 24 units, 25 units, or more than 25 units. In one embodiment, the polymer has a molecular weight of > 100 Daltons, 100-5,000 Daltons, 100 Daltons, 250 Daltons, 500 Daltons, 600 Daltons, 700 Dalton, 1,000 Daltons, 2,000 Daltons, 3,350 Daltons, or 5,000 Daltons.

[00042] In one embodiment, the polymer chains are coupled to the particles using silanes or siloxanes.

[00043] Tables 3 and 4 describe embodiments of polymer length relative to fiber circumference.

Table 3: Polymer Length versus Substrate Fiber Circumference (all units are in microns)

Table 4: Polymer Length versus Substrate Fiber Circumference (all units are in microns unless indicated otherwise)

[00044] Turning now to FIG. 1, seen is one embodiment of the polymer-chain-coupled particle (a“hairy particle”), wherein an active particle is combined with a silane coupling agent. Active particles are particles that have pores or traps that have the capacity to adsorb and desorb substances in solid, liquid, and/or gas phases, and/or combinations thereof. These pores can vary in size, shape, and quantity, depending on the type of active particle that is being used. For example, some active particles naturally have pores, such as volcanic rock, and other particles such as carbon may be treated with extreme temperature and an activating agent such as oxygen to create the pores, e.g., as in biochar.

[00045] Active particles can provide performance enhancing properties to the item they are included within. Such performance enhancing properties include odor adsorption, moisture management, humidity capture and release, ultraviolet light protection, infrared absorbance, chemical agent protective properties, bio-hazard protective properties, fire retardance, antibacterial protective properties, antiviral protective properties, antifungal protective properties, antimicrobial protective properties, desiccant properties, and combinations thereof. Active particles can include, but are not limited to, activated carbon and zeolites.

[00046] In one embodiment, the material may comprise an end-functional long chain group and may be referred to herein as a long-chain group, a functional group, a reactive group, an amine group, an anchor, or an anchoring group. Other material types comprise long-chain groups related to one or more of a cellulose, polyester, polyvinyl alcohol, polystyrene, polyacrylic, polypropylene, polyurethane (aliphatic and aromatic), aramids, and polyamide.

[00047] The substrate may comprise a natural fiber. Substrates can include, but are not limited to polyester, polyamide, aramids (Kevlar® and Nomex®), cottons, wools, Down, polyurethanes, modified acrylics, polyacrylics, rayons, polypropylenes, and other textile fibers. In one embodiment, the material is a natural material including, but not limited to down, wool, and/or cotton.

[00048] Deactivation of active particles occurs when a material is coupled to the pores and/or other surface areas of the active particles and blocks their ability to adsorb and desorb a substance. Active particles are particles that comprise pores or other surface area features which can adsorb and desorb a substance. Active particles can exist in a deactivated state when the pores and/or the surface area of active particles are blocked or inhibited from adsorbing a substance of certain molecular size. However, this does not always mean that these pores/surface areas are permanently precluded from adsorbing that substance. The pores/surface area of the active particles can be unblocked or uninhibited (i.e., generally or substantially returned to their original state) through reactivation or rejuvenation. Reactivation or rejuvenation removes substances that are trapped in the pores of the active particles, blocking their activity. However, if a deleterious substance is adsorbed by the active particles, it is unlikely that reactivation or rejuvenation can restore the adsorptive capacity of the active particles.

[00049] As described previously, the material may comprise one or more long chain groups.

EMBODIMENTS

[00050] A first embodiment provides a method for attaching a plurality of polymer-chain- coupled particles to a substrate comprising the steps of (a) dispersing the plurality of polymer- chain-coupled particles in an organic solvent to expand the polymer chains of the polymer-chain- coupled particles, (2) adding a substrate to the organic solvent to create a mixture, and (3) adding a non-solvent to the mixture to cause the polymer chains to collapse and mechanically bond to the substrate. [00051] A second embodiment provides a method of the first embodiment, wherein the particles of the polymer-chain-coupled particles comprise active particles.

[00052] A third embodiment provides a method of the first embodiment or the second embodiment, wherein the particles adsorb between one and 50 percent by weight of water.

[00053] A fourth embodiment provides a method of any one of the first through third embodiments, wherein the particles have a porosity of greater than 10 g/m2.

[00054] A fifth embodiment provides a method of any one of the first through fourth embodiments, wherein the particles are not soluble in water or dimethylformamide.

[00055] A sixth embodiment provides a method of any one of the first through fifth embodiments, wherein the particles have an average particle diameter of between 0.2 and 50 microns, inclusive.

[00056] A seventh embodiment provides a method of any one of the first through sixth embodiments, wherein the particles comprise l%-5%, or as high as 10% of the weight of the substrate, inclusive.

[00057] An eighth embodiment provides a method of any one of the first through seventh embodiments, wherein the particles comprise zeolites.

[00058] A ninth embodiment provides a method of any one of the first through eighth embodiments, wherein the polymer-chain-coupled particles are physically contacted to the surface of the substrate at a surface density of at least one percent by weight.

[00059] A tenth embodiment provides a method of any one of the first through ninth embodiments, wherein the plurality of polymer-chain-coupled particles comprise an average of at least a one-to-one (1 : 1) particle-to-polymer mass ratio to no more than a twenty-to-one (20: 1) particle-to-polymer mass ratio. [00060] An eleventh embodiment provides a method of any one of the first through tenth embodiments, wherein the plurality of polymer-chain-coupled particles comprise an average of no more than a ten-to-one (10: 1) particle-to-polymer mass ratio.

[00061] A twelfth embodiment provides a method of any one of the first through eleventh embodiments, wherein the plurality of polymer-chain-coupled particles comprise a three-to-one (3:1) particle-to-polymer mass ratio.

[00062] A thirteenth embodiment provides a method of any one of the first through twelfth embodiments, wherein the plurality of polymer-chain-coupled particles are in powdered form.

[00063] A fourteenth embodiment provides a method of any one of the first through thirteenth embodiments, wherein the polymer chains are coupled to the particles using silanes or siloxanes to form the polymer-chain-coupled particles.

[00064] A fifteenth embodiment provides a method of any one of the first through fourteenth embodiments, wherein the polymer chains have an average length that is greater than ten units.

[00065] A sixteenth embodiment provides a method of any one of the first through fifteenth embodiments, wherein the polymer chains have an average length that is greater than 25 units.

[00066] A seventeenth embodiment provides a method of any one of the first through sixteenth embodiments, wherein the polymer chains have an average molecular weight between 100 Daltons and 5,000 Daltons, inclusive.

[00067] An eighteenth embodiment provides a method of any one of the first through seventeenth embodiments, wherein the polymer chains have an average length that is 0.01% -

16.5% of the circumference of the substrate. [00068] A nineteenth embodiment provides a method of any one of the first through eighteenth embodiments, wherein the polymer chains have an average length that is 0.032% - 0.186% of the circumference of the substrate.

[00069] A twentieth embodiment provides a method of any one of the first through nineteenth embodiments, wherein the substrate comprises a natural fiber.

[00070] A twenty-first embodiment provides a method of any one of the first through twentieth embodiments, wherein the substrate comprises a natural fiber that is at least one of cotton, wool, and down.

[00071] A twenty-second embodiment provides a method of any one of the first through twenty-first embodiments, wherein the organic solvent comprises alcohol.

[00072] A twenty-third embodiment provides a method of any one of the first through twenty-second embodiments, wherein the non-solvent comprises water.

[00073] A twenty-fourth embodiment provides a method of any one of the first through twenty-third embodiments, wherein the mixture has a pH 4 - 5.5, inclusive.

[00074] A twenty-fifth embodiment provides a method of any one of the first through twenty-fourth embodiments, wherein the mixture has a pH that is maintained using an acid.

[00075] A twenty-sixth embodiment provides a method of any one of the first through twenty-fifth embodiments further comprising mixing the mixture.

[00076] A twenty-seventh embodiment provides a method of any one of the first through twenty-sixth embodiments comprising mixing the mixture for five to thirty minutes.

[00077] A twenty-eighth embodiment provides a system comprising a plurality of polymer- chain-coupled particles mechanically bonded to a substrate, wherein each polymer-chain-coupled particle of the plurality of polymer-chain-coupled particles comprises one or more particles and one or more polymers.

[00078] A twenty-ninth embodiment provides a system of the twenty-eighth embodiment, wherein the plurality of polymer-chain-coupled particles are mechanically bonded to the substrate by (a) dispersing the plurality of polymer-chain-coupled particles in an organic solvent to expand the polymer chains of the polymer-chain-coupled particles, (2) adding a substrate to the organic solvent to create a mixture, and (3) adding a non-solvent to the mixture to cause the polymer chains to collapse and mechanically bond to the substrate.

[00079] A thirtieth embodiment provides a system of the twenty-eighth or twenty-ninth embodiment, wherein the particles of the polymer-chain-coupled particles comprise active particles.

[00080] A thirty-first embodiment provides a system of any one of the twenty-eighth through thirtieth embodiments, wherein the particles adsorb between one and 50 percent by weight of water.

[00081] A thirty-second embodiment provides a system of any one of the twenty-eighth through thirty-first embodiments, wherein the particles have a porosity of greater than 10 g/m2.

[00082] A thirty-third embodiment provides a system of any one of the twenty-eighth through thirty-second embodiments, wherein the particles are not soluble in water or dimethylformamide.

[00083] A thirty-fourth embodiment provides a system of any one of the twenty-eighth through thirty-third embodiments, wherein the particles have an average particle diameter of between 0.2 and 50 microns, inclusive. [00084] A thirty-fifth embodiment provides a system of any one of the twenty-eighth through thirty-fourth embodiments, wherein the particles comprise l%-5%, or as high as 10% of the weight of the substrate, inclusive.

[00085] A thirty-sixth embodiment provides a system of any one of the twenty-eighth through thirty-fifth embodiments, wherein the particles comprise zeolites.

[00086] A thirty-seventh embodiment provides a system of any one of the twenty-eighth through thirty-sixth embodiments, wherein the polymer-chain-coupled particles are physically contacted to the surface of the substrate at a surface density of at least one percent by weight.

[00087] A thirty-eighth embodiment provides a system of any one of the twenty-eighth through thirty-seventh embodiments, wherein the plurality of polymer-chain-coupled particles comprise an average of at least a one-to-one (1 : 1) particle-to-polymer mass ratio to no more than a twenty-to-one (20: 1) particle-to-polymer mass ratio.

[00088] A thirty-ninth embodiment provides a system of any one of the twenty-eighth through thirty-eighth embodiments, wherein the plurality of polymer-chain-coupled particles comprise an average of no more than a ten-to-one (10: 1) particle-to-polymer mass ratio.

[00089] A fortieth embodiment provides a system of any one of the twenty-eighth through thirty-ninth embodiments, wherein the plurality of polymer-chain-coupled particles comprise a three-to-one (3: 1) particle-to-polymer mass ratio.

[00090] A forty-first embodiment provides a system of any one of the twenty-eighth through fortieth embodiments, wherein the plurality of polymer-chain-coupled particles are in powdered form. [00091] A forty-second embodiment provides a system of any one of the twenty-eighth through forty-first embodiments, wherein the polymer chains are coupled to the particles with silanes or siloxanes to form the polymer-chain-coupled particles.

[00092] A forty-third embodiment provides a system of any one of the twenty-eighth through forty-second embodiments, wherein the polymer chains have an average length that is greater than ten units.

[00093] A forty-fourth embodiment provides a system of any one of the twenty-eighth through forty-third embodiments, wherein the polymer chains have an average length that is greater than 25 units.

[00094] A forty-fifth embodiment provides a system of any one of the twenty-eighth through forty-fourth embodiments, wherein the polymer chains have an average molecular weight between 100 Daltons and 5,000 Daltons, inclusive.

[00095] A forty-sixth embodiment provides a system of any one of the twenty-eighth through forty-fifth embodiments, wherein the polymer chains have an average length that is 0.01% - 16.5% of the circumference of the substrate.

[00096] A forty-seventh embodiment provides a system of any one of the twenty-eighth through forty-sixth embodiments, wherein the polymer chains have an average length that is 0.032% - 0.186% of the circumference of the substrate.

[00097] A forty-eighth embodiment provides a system of any one of the twenty-eighth through forty-seventh embodiments, wherein the substrate comprises a natural fiber.

[00098] A forty-ninth embodiment provides a system of any one of the twenty-eighth through forty-eighth embodiments, wherein the substrate comprises a natural fiber that is at least one of cotton, wool, and down. [00099] A fiftieth embodiment provides a system of any one of the twenty-ninth through forty-ninth embodiments, wherein the organic solvent comprises alcohol.

[000100] A fifty-first embodiment provides a system of any one of the twenty-ninth through fiftieth embodiments, wherein the non-solvent comprises water.

[000101] A fifty-second embodiment provides a system of any one of the twenty-ninth through fifty-first embodiments, wherein the mixture has a pH 4 - 5.5, inclusive.

[000102] A fifty-third embodiment provides a system of any one of the twenty-ninth through fifty-second embodiments, wherein the mixture has a pH that is maintained using an acid.

[000103] A fifty-fourth embodiment provides a system of any one of the twenty-ninth through fifty-third embodiments, wherein the mixture is formed by mixing the mixture for five to thirty minutes.

[000104] A fifty-fifth embodiment provides a method for making a functional fabric comprising the steps of (1) combining zeolite particles with activated polydimethylsiloxane at by-weight ratio 3: 1 - 10: 1, respectively, in a solution containing isopropyl alcohol with a pH of 4-5.5 adjusted with acetic acid to form polymer-chain-coupled particles, (2) drying the polymer- chain-coupled particles to form a powder, (3) combining the powder with a fabric containing natural fibers in a ratio of 1%-10% (w/w), respectively, in 95% ethanol, (4) incubating the combination of step (c) for 5-30 minutes, (5) adding water to the combination at a volume that is at least 3-times the volume of the 95% ethanol and incubating about 5-30 minutes, (6) removing the ethanol and water from the fabric; and (7) drying the fabric.

[000105] A fifty-sixth embodiment provides a functional fabric produced by the method of the fifty-fifth embodiment. [000106] A fifty-seventh embodiment provides a system that contains a natural fiber and a plurality of active particles having a porosity of greater than 10 g/m 2 , in which each of the active particles is bonded to a plurality of polymer chains using silanes or siloxanes, and wherein the active particles are mechanically bonded, but not chemically bonded, to the natural fiber by said plurality of polymer chains. By not chemically bonded, What is meant by“not chemically bonded” is that no ionic or covalent bonds are formed between the natural fiber and the active particles or the polymer chains.

[000107] Those skilled in the art can readily recognize that numerous variations and substitutions may be made in the invention, its use and its configuration to achieve substantially the same results as achieved by the embodiments described herein. Accordingly, there is no intention to limit the invention to the disclosed exemplary forms. Many variations, modifications and alternative constructions fall within the scope and spirit of the disclosed invention as expressed in the claims. The Examples are not meant to limit the scope of the invention.

EXAMPLES

Example 1: Modification of Powder to Produce Polymer-Chain-Coupled Particles

[000108] Materials used included: powdered performance-enhancing particles (“PP-EP”, 37.5 powder, lot: 12-10); mono-(2,3-epoxy)propylether terminated polydimethyl-siloxane, asymmetric (“PDMS polymer” or“silane”) (MCR-E21, Gelest, Morrisville, PA); 91% isopropyl alcohol (IP A), and acetic acid.

[000109] The process for chemically binding the performance-enhancing particles to PDMS polymer to produce polymer-chain-coupled particles included the steps of: measuring out the powder, measuring out the alcohol, adjusting pH of alcohol to 4.5-5.5 with acetic acid, adding silane to alcohol, mixing, adding the resultant solution to the powdered performance-enhancing particles, and stirring well for one hour. After stirring well for one hour, the alcohol was decanted, the powder dried, and the complex was placed in an oven at 110°C for about 20 minutes.

[000110] Various batch sizes that were generated and tested are tabulated in table 5.

Table 5: Test Batches (all amounts are in grams; pH is in pH units)

Example 2: Fabric Treatment

[000111] Materials used included: 100% cotton fabric; powdered polymer-chain-coupled particles; and ethanol (95%).

[000112] The process for mechanically bonding the polymer-chain-coupled particles (“P-C- C-P” s) to fabric substrates included the steps of: performing Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) on the fabric; cutting uniform swatches of fabric (approximately 4”x4”); and treating the fabric at three treatment levels (1%, 3%, and 5% of fabric weight, see Tables 6 and 7). Each treating step was performed in a glass tray filled with enough ethanol to cover the swatch (the volume of ethanol was recorded). The treating steps were: adding the appropriate amount of ethanol to the tray; adding the appropriate amount of polymer-chain-coupled particle powder mix (see Table 6 for example specimens); adding the swatch to the tray; coating the swatch; turning the swatch; letting the swatch sit for about 10 minutes; adding distilled water to the tray in a volume that is three-times the volume of the ethanol in the tray; letting the swatch sit for 30 minutes in the mixture; draining off the liquid; drying the swatch (the sample) in an oven; and then testing the treated fabric sample by FTIR. Table 7 tabulates the several treatment examples.

Table 6: Exemplar Specimens

Table 7: Treatment Regimens

Example 3: Down Treatment Method

[000113] Down was treated according to the following sequential steps to prepare a product having a 10% ratio of polymer-chain-coupled particle to down substrate: 1.5086 g of down was weighed into a jar with a lid (the size of the jar determined the amount of down); an amount of powdered polymer-chain-coupled particles equal to 10.26% of the mass of the down ( i.e 0.1549 g particles) was weighed into a separate beaker; 100 mL of isopropyl alcohol was added to the beaker containing the particles and mixed at room temperature and verified by IR gun; the isopropyl alcohol/particle mixture was added to the down mixture in the jar with the lid; particles that remained in the beaker were scraped out using a plastic stir stick; an additional 100 mL of isopropyl alcohol was added to the beaker to rinse out the left-over particles; the rinse was added to the down/isopropyl alcohol jar mixture; the jar was closed and shaken for thirty minutes to ensure uniform distribution of the particles within the down; the down/isopropyl alcohol mixture was added to a beaker; 25% of distilled water was slowly added to the beaker containing the down/isopropyl alcohol mixture {i.e., 50 mL of distilled water was used); the resultant mixture was stirred for five minutes; after stirring, the mixture was poured over a metal screen sifter to remove all of the liquid; return the screened down mixture was returned to the beaker and rinsed three times with 50 mL of distilled water with draining in between each rinse; and then the down mixture was put into a 120°C oven overnight.

[000114] Other down formulations were produced using the same process as above, but with different weight ratios of polymer-chain-coupled particles to fiber substrate. One percent and three percent formulations were produced.