A natural biopolymer that strengthens the shells of crustaceans can be combined with fragrant oils to produce odor-repellent, stain-resistant and antimicrobial automotive interiors, according to researchers at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) in Melbourne, Australia. Chitosan, found in the exoskeletons of crabs and shrimp, has antimicrobial properties and readily forms a thin film.
Master’s student Saniyat Islam at RMIT’s School of Fashion and Textiles combined chitosan with fragrance and applied the substance to 100-percent polyester woven automotive fabric. The treated fabric resisted odors and stains, left a durable fragrance finish and integrated the chitosan’s germ-fighting properties into car interiors. RMIT is working on several research concepts for automotive applications, including another project to reduce a vehicle’s air conditioner use by integrating phase-change materials into air conditioning systems. For more on RMIT textile research, visit http://www.rmit.edu.au/fashiontextiles/researchprojects.