How solidly are the dyes adhered to the textiles?
Mohr: The textiles are immersed into the dye solution and the dye exhibits a chemically active response – it therefore adheres solidly to the fiber. So solidly in fact to where it cannot be rinsed out, even if the textile is decocted at 95 degrees Celsius.
It is very important that the chemical dyes adhere this solidly to the fiber, since they must not come in contact with the skin or wounds.
Is there a different dye for each substance?
Mohr: Depending on which substance is meant to be determined – whether it’s pH levels or ammonia in a diaper – you need a different dye. The dyes therefore require very special preparations.
Which substances have they been tested for already?
Mohr: At the moment, we conduct pH measurements for medical textiles. Generally, ammonia and amines can also be detected with our dyes. Carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide are possible in the area of gases. We also synthesize other dyes that have not been comprehensively characterized yet. They are designed to react with heavy metals or nitric oxides.
To what extent are the dyes being used already?
Mohr: Currently we are producing the dyes we developed on a small scale and test them on the different applications. However, it is definitely conceivable to produce the dyes on a larger scale. The dyeing process would need to be performed by a textile refining company for instance. We would then adapt the materials we develop to the production process of the respective company.
Besides lab coats or wound dressings, what application areas are also conceivable for the dyes?
Mohr: We are also working on a washcloth for babies. Baby skin is very sensitive. The pH level in many laundry detergents is too high for babies, which leads to skin irritation. This is why we are developing a washcloth with an indicator dye that warns against high pH levels. Aside from newborns, this type of washcloth could also be interesting for people suffering from neurodermatitis, who have extremely sensitive and irritable skin.