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Issue 05/2019

  • Text
  • Textiles
  • Fibers
  • Polymers
  • Compostable
  • Barrier
  • Biodegradable
  • Products
  • Plastics
  • Biobased
  • Packaging
  • Materials
  • Bioplastics
Highlights: Fibres/Textiles/Nonwovens Barrier Materials Cover Story: Lightweighting PBAT

Fibers & Textiles

Fibers & Textiles Biobased additives for By: biopolymer-textiles Gunnar Seide Chair of Polymer Engineering Aachen-Maastricht Institute for Biobased Materials Geleen, The Netherlands Both Flanders and the south of the Netherlands, traditionally regions with large numbers of companies active in the plastics processing industry, particularly in the field of textiles are participating in the project. Both regions hold extensive expertise in the development and production of carpet and clothing. It is well-known that the properties of plastics are not inherent in the polymer itself, but that these are obtained through the use of functional additives. Nucleating agents, plasticizers, flame-retardants, colorants, anti-statics, stabilizers are all examples of additives that are indispensable in today’s materials. However, in many cases, biobased versions of these additives are unavailable. This makes it almost impossible to produce 100 % biobased products. To be able to do so, it is essential to develop biobased additives. Is that really necessary? Additives are used in such small amounts… As the history of microplastics shows, little notice is taken of the impact materials have on the environment, until significant effects are seen, which are viewed critically by consumers. If biodegradable plastics are to serve as a solution to the problem of microplastics, additives will need to be developed that are biodegradable or at least eco-toxicologically harmless. An example of changing customer expectations is the fact that a few textile companies have now for the first time announced they would refuse to use biopolymers produced by means of genetically modified organisms. Consumers are becoming increasingly demanding regarding aspects relating to the environment or sustainability. There are currently multiple research projects in progress on biobased additives for biobased polymers. Some examples: The objective of the BioTex Fieldlab is to set up an open innovation center for research into the development of fibers and yarns from biopolymers. Within this project, many companies, under the umbrella of Modint GmbH, Düsseldorf/ Germany, and research institutes are working together. The center will develop new textile production processes and applications for this. Modint is an industry association of 600 textile companies. An EU project named “Pure nature: 100 % biobased (BB100)” is currently being run, the goal of which is to develop a process chain for fully biobased man-made fiber materials. This not only includes the processing of biopolymers, but also commonly used additive materials such as plasticizers, flame-retardants, colorants and nucleation agents. Fully biobased yarns and textile demonstrators will be developed. By 2030, the textile sector aims to use between 20-50 % biobased materials in its products. In textiles, for example, color intensity and stability are the most important quality indicators. However, biobased dyes are commercially available only to a limited extent and often do not meet quality criteria such as color authenticity. This project focuses on developing natural dyes from marine organisms (such as algae) and agricultural crops which (amongst others) contain sorghum and onion peels. In conclusion, the author would like to describe a personal experience of a panel discussion at a conference on sustainability in the textile industry this year. At the meeting, both students and corporate delegates from all over the world, including developing countries with textile production, were represented. In questions and statements during the panel discussion, it clearly emerged that today’s younger people, as represented by the participants in the conference, are forcefully demanding a shift towards sustainability, even if it has economic consequences in terms of lower growth, while industry representatives consider sustainability the basis for further business within a global growth philosophy. “I´m convinced that the union of both positions via new technologies is possible. A modern world is not conceivable without modern materials! Therefore: In for biobased polymers, in for biobased additives!” www.maastrichtuniversity.nl 16 bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/19] Vol. 14

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