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Research on repellents continues

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Dirt, rain and snow repellent? Yes, of course. But how about repelling invisible threats, such as germ warfare? Research is ongoing. These performance capabilities are not yet on the production line, awaiting ways to make them more resistant to wear and tear, according to innovationnewsdaily.com.

Past lab tests at several universities have produced techniques causing liquids to bead up instead of cling to the surface; currently, however, they don’t meet military specs because they can easily be scratched or worn away. The coating also must be thin and hug fibers without increasing stiffness or affecting color. Factor in airflow and moisture evaporation needs, and it’s easy to understand how complex specs can be.

Another military essential is on the drawing board: fabrics for use in combat camouflage. The Advanced Technology and Manufacturing Center of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has signed an agreement to work with the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research Center to develop high speed digital printing and other innovations to create such materials, including fabrics invisible to infrared sensors.

Carla Waldemar is a freelance writer and editor based in Minneapolis, Minn.

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