Investigation into the Development of Novel Applications of Inkjet Printing for Textile Materials

  • Md Nazmul Karim

Student thesis: Phd


Inkjet printing is the most rapidly growing sub-segment of the textile printing industry due to its advantages over traditional printing methods. Inkjet technology not only offers the printing of coloured inks but also can be used to apply coatings, to deposit functional chemicals onto textiles in controllable quantities at prescribed locations, and to impart multiple functionalities and performance characteristics. There has also been a growing demand in replacing dye-based inks with pigment-based inks for inkjet printing, as pigment printing is the most widely and extensively used textile printing technique. However, the requirement of higher temperature fixation for pigment printing presents some limitations in processing heat sensitive textile materials such as poly (lactic acid) (PLA) fabrics. Therefore, optimisation of thermal-curing conditions for pigment printing and investigation of alternative UV-curable inkjet printing are of interest both academically and commercially. In addition, there has also been an increasing interest in applying functional finishes or highly conductive patterns onto textiles by inkjet printing, which could potentially provide integrated processing of technical textiles. Therefore, in order to explore and address the potential applications and associated technical challenges, the following four studies were conducted: optimisation of thermal-curing conditions for PLA fabrics; investigation of UV-curable inkjet printing of PLA fabrics; the development of fluorine-free breathable hydrophobic coatings onto textiles; and inkjet printing of graphene-based highly conductive patterns onto textiles. In the first study, the effect of curing conditions on the performance characteristics of pigment printed PLA fabrics were evaluated and optimum curing conditions were established. In the second study, UV-curable inkjet printing of PLA fabrics was investigated as a way of overcoming the potential degradation at higher temperature. The results indicated that UV-curable inkjet printing could be an alternative to the conventional thermally-cured pigment printing for heat sensitive fibres. In the third study, fluorine-free nanoparticles were synthesised and inkjet printed onto fabric to produce hydrophobic breathable textiles. The hydrophobic surfaces exhibited higher water contact angles of up to 160° and the breathability of inkjet printed hydrophobic fabric was not affected by the deposited nanoparticles. In the final study, a conductive graphene-based composite ink was formulated and inkjet printed onto nanoparticle printed hydrophobic cotton fabrics fabricated in the previous study. The cotton fabrics printed with graphene-based composite inks provided lower sheet resistance, 2.11 Ω/sq and successfully illuminate an LED light when connected to a power supply. The results from this study indicate the potential for the replacement of traditional screen printing with inkjet printing and the associated opportunities within established markets, and for establishing new markets based on integrated functional textile products.
Date of Award1 Aug 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorBrian Derby (Supervisor) & Stephen Yeates (Supervisor)


  • Poly (Lactic Acid) Fabrics
  • Hydrophobic Textiles
  • Electronic Textiles
  • Textiles
  • UV-curable Inkjet Printing
  • Inkjet Printing
  • Graphene

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