Chemical weapons is one of the most dangerous weapons of mass destruction. And if at the beginning of the development of chemical weapons struck the man through the respiratory tract, the modern specimens are able to penetrate even through unprotected areas of the skin and mucous membranes, causing extensive damage. Despite the fact that the use of such weapons is prohibited, this does not mean that protection from him to establish not necessary. One of the developments in this area is a new type of fabric, which is able to neutralize chemical warfare agents.
The basis of protective tissue are of particular ORGANOMETALLIC structures (metal-organic frameworks, MOF), consisting of zirconium and a number of materials that act as catalyst and filter. These structures are capable of neutralizing and completely break down various compounds included in the chemical weapons. Powdered ORGANOMETALLIC structures can also absorb certain kinds of gases, like the gas masks filters. These compounds are known for a long time, but their dissemination prevented the extreme volatility, which they quickly lost their properties.
An elegant solution was found by researchers from the University of North Carolina. They have developed a technology of growing MOF crystals directly on the surface of polypropylene fabric. The resulting samples were tested with substances DMNP (dimethyl 4-nitrophenyl phosphate), which belongs to a class of nerve gases. For the neutralization of the toxic agent, the tissue took just 5 minutes. In the future the fabric based on this technology can be used for manufacturing of complete sets of protective clothing not only for military but also for the emergency services who often work in areas of technological disasters and put their life in danger.