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Issue 05/2018

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  • Bioplastics
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Fibers & Textiles

Fibers & Textiles PBS-based Fibres for Introduction On the market since the early 1990s, polybutylene succinate (PBS) has been used in many compostable applications such as packaging or agriculture products. However, the use of PBS for textile applications and filament extrusion remains relatively unexplored. The fibre extrusion process is very challenging for the polymer and more research is needed to develop PBS’s spinnability and processability into filament yarns and textiles. Consequently, a tri-national research consortium of actors from academia and industry aimed to tackle these issues within the publicly-funded CORNET project PBSTex. The goal of the PBSTex project was to investigate the usability of PBS for textile applications by means of a selection of suitable PBS polymer grades, multi-scale melt-spinning processes and the fabrication and analysis of textile demonstrators. The consortium made great steps towards closing the innovation gap of PBS in the industry. The building blocks used to produce PBS are 1,4-butanediol and succinic acid, and although traditionally both monomers were derived from petroleum, Reverdia has been supplying 100% biobased succinic acid since 2012, and technologies for biobased 1,4-butanediol are in the early stages of commercialisation. Most of the PBS grades available on the market today are therefore up to 50% biobased. It is expected that they will be entirely biobased in the near future. In addition to being biobased, PBS is also compostable or biodegradable This means that, in the presence of microorganisms, the material can be decomposed into CO 2 and water, under well-defined conditions and timeframe. A wellknown polymer which meets the criteria of being biobased and biodegradable is Polylactic acid (PLA). However, PLA needs industrial conditions (50-60°C) to decompose, and will not biodegrade in for example soil or home compost, at least without special measures (blending, copolymerization, etc.). Some other polymers are biodegradable at lower and less constant temperatures (

Fibers & Textiles Renewable Textiles By: Table 1: Classification of biodegradable polymers Benjamin Weise, AMIBM, Maastricht University, The Netherlands Sofie Huysman, Centexbel, Ghent, Belgium Pavan Manvi, ITA, RWTH Aachen University, Germany Lawrence Theunissen, Reverdia, Geleen, The Netherlands Summary and outlook Sustainability topics such as plastics waste, recycling and the Circular Economy have recently come to the forefront of public opinion. The highest priority in dealing with these issues should be to reduce, re-use or recycle plastic materials and products. In specific cases where recycling is not technically or economically possible, solutions are being developed based on biodegradable materials. It has now been successfully proven that commercially available PBS polymer grades are usable for the fabrication of biobased and biodegradable textiles. Within the PBSTex project, the research consortium achieved significant progress in the processing of PBS to fibres and textiles. This is offering a meaningful basis for the targeted production of PBS-based textile products. For example, a proper selection of PBS, PBS-copolymers and additives is conceivable to adjust the biodegradability of the as-spun yarns with a potential use in geotextiles as components of dykes and drainage systems. Hygiene and sanitary products like wound dressings and compostable wipes are further promising applications. To achieve better yarn properties, the melt-spinning process, i.e. extrusion has to be improved. As gelation observations had been made during the spinning trials, PBS could be modified with suitable additives to suppress material degradation. Furthermore, it is of particular interest to have access to polymer grades specifically designed for fibre extrusion as is the case for polymers like PP, PE, PET and PLA. Therefore, raw material and polymer suppliers like Reverdia and PTT MCC should continue and extend their collaboration with research institutes like Centexbel, AMIBM and ITA and textile companies to bring green polyester PBS to the industry. Polymer material Biobased feedstock Biodegradable at 30°C Biodegradable at 70°C Polyamides No* No No Polyolefins (PP, PE) No* No No Polyethylene terephthalate No* No No Polylactic acid (PLA) Yes No Yes Polybutylene succinate Yes Yes Yes (PBS) * Petroleum-based, but biobased production routes are emerging (‘drop-in polymers’) Process Table 2: Summary of obtained results Draw ratio (DR) Winding velocity Tenacity (N/tex) Tape extrusion 4.8 (m/min) 0.23 Monofilament 6.0 24.0 0.30 BCF spinning 1.8 30.1 0.12 POY spinning 1.01 1,550 0.13 FDY spinning 2.4 2,800 0.17 FDY spinning 2.4 3,800 0.17 Knitted fabric Figure 1: PBS fibre bobbin (a) and coloured PBS yarns (b) a) b) Figure 2: Textile demonstrators of PBS Nonwoven fabric Acknowledgement The PBSTex project is an ERA-NET CORNET project, funded by the national agency members VLAIO Flanders and AIF Germany. The researchers thank the respective funding bodies for their financial support. They furthermore acknowledge the precious feedback of the members of the German and Belgian User Committees and their willingness to attend the meetings throughout the project. Special thanks go to Reverdia V.O.F. which particularly supported the early-phase spinning trials by the supply of various PBS grades. Woven multifilament fabric Woven tape fabric bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/18] Vol. 13 25

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