Photo by Shutterstock

The U.S. military wants to explore the potential of “omniphobic”-treated uniforms that repel liquids and dirt, but not because it wants to do fewer loads of laundry (though that’s probably a plus). The same technology that protects against rain, water, and snow can also deflect biological, environmental, or chemical threats, according to a solicitation notice issued by the Department of the Army earlier this month. But although omniphobic textiles already exist, the coatings are easily scratched or rubbed off. If any of the proposed “applications in military clothing” are to succeed, the army needs a material that can withstand the rigors of the battlefield.

U.S. military, military uniforms, high-tech soldiers, wearable technology, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, omniphobic technology, toxic chemicals

Photo by Shutterstock


Lab tests by the likes of MIT have already demonstrated the efficacy of omniphobic materials, which cause liquids to bead rather than cling to the surface. Such coatings, the notice adds, could also shield the skin from “solid and liquid toxic industrial chemicals, petroleum, oil, and lubricants, chemical warfare agents, and bacteria and viruses, thus effectively providing enhanced chemical/biological protection.”

The army wants a coating that is thin and conforms to fibers without compromising fabric stiffness.

In addition to fixing current “material weaknesses,” the army’s Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center wants a coating that is thin and conforms well to fibers without compromising fabric stiffness or affecting its color. Most of all, the resulting textile must be durable, with high abrasion resistance, good tensile strength, and effective air-permeability and moisture-wicking properties.

Another bonus for the soldier of tomorrow? Fewer laundry days. Talk about a win-win situation.

[Via InnovationNewsDaily]