Functional finishing of aminated polyester using biopolymer-based polyelectrolyte microgels



This study focuses on a microgel-based functionalization method applicable to polyester textiles for improving their hydrophilicity and/or moisture-management properties, eventually enhancing wear comfort. The method proposed aims at achieving pH-/temperature-controlled wettability of polyester within a physiological pH/temperature range. First, primary amine groups are created on polyester surfaces using ethylenediamine; second, biopolymer-based polyelectrolyte microgels are incorporated using the natural cross-linker genipin. The microgels consist of the pH-responsive natural polysaccharide chitosan and pH/thermoresponsive poly(N-isopropylacrylamide-co-acrylic acid) microparticles. Scanning electron microscopy confirmed the microgel presence on polyester surfaces. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy revealed nitrogen concentration, supporting increased microscopy results. Electrokinetic analysis showed that functionalized polyester surfaces have a zero-charge point at pH 6.5, close to the microgel isoelectric point. Dynamic wetting measurements revealed that functionalized polyester has shorter total water absorption time than the reference. This absorption time is also pH dependent, based on dynamic contact angle and micro-roughness measurements, which indicated microgel swelling at different pH values. Furthermore, at 40°C functionalized polyester has higher vapor transmission rates than the reference, even at high relative humidity. This was attributed to the microgel thermoresponsiveness, which was confirmed through the almost 50% decrease in microparticle size between 20 and 40°C, as determined by dynamic light scattering measurements.