In this work, a photochromic wool fabric has been prepared by applying a photochromic-dye hybrid silica sol-gel onto the surface of fabric. The photochromic fabric was found to have a very quick optical response. Two types of silica were used as the matrix material, and the type of silica had a small effect only on the photochromic performance, the fabric washing fastness, and water contact angle, but affected the fabric handle property considerably. The silica from a precursor containing a long alkyl chain showed very little influence on the fabric handle and better photochromic performance than that containing a phenyl group.
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