Mussel-Inspired Design of a Self-Adhesive Agent for Durable Moisture Management and Bacterial Inhibition on PET Fabric

Yuanfeng Wang, Gang Xia, Hui Yu, Baitai Qian, Yuk Ha Cheung, Lan Heung Wong, John H. Xin

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Functional textiles with advanced moisture management can enhance human comfort and physiological health. However, conventional wet finishing processes used for textiles are usually highly polluting and exhibit poor fastness. Inspired by the strong underwater adhesion properties of mussels based on cation–π interaction, a novel superhydrophilic polymeric molecule with strong cohesion and adhesion property is designed on a poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) fabric. The cation–π hydrophilic agent (CPHA) can efficiently transform the hydrophobic PET fabric to a superhydrophilic one, and its superhydrophilicity can withstand 150 home laundry cycles. In addition, the cationic moieties in the CPHA self-adhere to the PET fabric without any finishing auxiliary that would cause pollution. Due to its strong adhesion, CPHA can be applied to one side of the PET fabric via spray coating and curing to form a Janus hydrophobic/superhydrophilic fabric capable of diode-like one-way sweat transportation (with forward transportation capability of 1115% and backward transportation capability of −1509%). Moreover, the Janus fabric inhibits bacterial growth and invasion, while simultaneously preserving the inner ecological healthy balance of the skin's microflora. This work opens up a pathway to develop adhesives in textile wet processing for more diverse, smarter applications, e.g., quick-dry sportswear, protective suits, or air-conditioning fabrics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2100140
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number35
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2021


  • bacterial inhibition
  • cation–π interactions
  • moisture management
  • self-adhesives
  • textiles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

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