Electro-osmotic (or electrokinetic) transport is used to efficiently force a solution (or water) through the interior of the fibers or yarns of textile materials for wet processing of textiles. The textile material is passed between electrodes that apply an electric field across the fabric. Used alone or in parallel with conventional hydraulic washing (forced convection), electro-osmotic transport greatly reduces the amount of water used in wet processing. The amount of water required to achieve a fixed level of rinsing of tint can be reduced, for example, to 1-5 lbs water per pound of fabric from an industry benchmark of 20 lbs water/lb fabric.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.