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Issue 06/2018

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From Science & Research

From Science & Research Improved biobased fibres for clothing applications Polylactic acid (PLA) is a material obtained from renewable resources, suitable for obtaining melt-processable fibres. It combines ecological advantages with a good performance in textiles. PLA successfully bridges the gap between synthetic and natural fibres and finds a wide range of uses, but despite their benefits, most commercial PLA grades do not yet fulfil all the mechanical and thermal requirements for some textile applications. In order to solve these limitations, the European project FIBFAB has been working on the development of a new bio-compound that fulfils the desired properties for textile clothing applications as well as the suitability to be used in industrial fibre production. The project FIBFAB aims to industrialize and successfully launch the production of biobased and sustainable PLA-based fabrics (wool/PLA and cotton/PLA) for applications in casual, protective and workwear clothing and to overcome the current limitations of PLA fibres as a real alternative to current fabrics (wool and cotton combined with polyester (PES) fibres). The targets of the project are: • To obtain a final 100 % biobased clothing product that meets the mechanical performance requirements of the textile sector. Sample Standard / Method MFI (g/10 min) 210°C; 2,16 kg UNE-EN ISO 1133-2: 2012 VICAT B50 (°C) Crystallinity (%) UNE-EN ISO 306: 2015 DSC, Platen Press PLA 6201 D 25 55-60 25.40 PLA 6100 D 24 55-60 - PLA 6260 D 65 - - Target properties 15-30 > 90 - FibFab compound 22.8 ± 0.7 92.7 ± 0.4 47.08 By: Nuria López Aznar Senior Polymer Researcher AIMPLAS (Plastics Technology Centre) Paterna, Spain With this compound developed, fibres and some final products such T-shirts were obtained. • To improve the current poor thermal resistance of PLA fibres to meet the requirements in several clothing applications. The thermal resistance of PLA fibres achieved are higher than 90°C. • To improve the extrusion process for PLA fibres to be able to obtain fine fibres (less than 3 dtex) and especially the mechanical spinning process (friction control in ring spinning) to be able to spin PLA blend fibres at higher speeds. • To reduce the market dependence on fibre and textile imports (mainly PES products) and improve the competitiveness of the textile sector by creating a new concept of clothing that fits the expectations of customers with high ecological awareness. • To introduce yarns and fabrics produced from PLA fibres and cotton or wool into the textile market. Due to the chemical nature of PLA, it has been proven that it has better breathability, hydrophilic properties, UV resistance, low smoke production and flammability and also lower density than PES. The compound development, in which AIMPLAS (Paterna, Spain) is the main responsible, has included a mix of different commercial PLAs with some additives such as nucleants, processing aids and hydrolysis stabilizers. From the results of the characterization of the compounds developed, it was possible to achieve the targets regarding viscosity, thermal resistance, crystallinity, hydrolytic behaviour, mechanical properties and shrinkage, as well as good processability, obtaining fibres with less than 3 dtex. The table shows some of the main properties studied and compares some commercial PLAs and the compound developed within the project FIBFAB. FIBFAB is a two-year project funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under grant agreement No 737882, in which AIMPLAS (Plastics Technology Centre) is the coordinator. Together with the rest of the consortium (Centexbel, D.S. Fibres, Yünsa and Sintex), these members cover the textile value chain, from fibre production to product manufacturing, thus ensuring the industrial implementation of PLA fibres for clothing. | 28 bioplastics MAGAZINE [06/18] Vol. 13

From Science & Research New method for high yield FDCS production enables large-scale production of bio-based plastic bottles S cientists have discovered a novel method to synthesize furan-2,5-dicarboxylic acid (FDCA) in a high yield from a glucose derivative of non-food plant cellulose, paving the way for replacing petroleum-derived terephthalic acid with biomaterials in plastic bottle applications. The chemical industry is under pressure to establish energyefficient chemical procedures that do not generate by-products, and using renewable resources wherever possible. Scientists believe that if resources from non-food plants can be used without putting a burden on the environment, it will help sustain existing social systems. It has been reported that various useful polymers can be synthesized from 5-(hydroxymethyl)furfural (HMF), the biomaterial used in this study. A high yield of FDCA can be obtained when HMF is oxidized in a diluted solution under 2 wt % with various supported metal catalysts. However, a major stumbling block to industrial application lies with the use of a concentrated solution of 10-20 wt %, which is essential for efficient and scalable production of FDCA in the chemical industry. When HMF was simply oxidized in a concentrated solution (10 wt %), the FDCA yield was only around 30 %, and a large amount of solid by-products was formed simultaneously. This is due to complex side reactions induced from HMF itself. In the study published in Angewandte Chemie International Edition [1], a Japan-Netherland research team led by Associate Professor Kiyotaka Nakajima at Hokkaido University and Professor Emiel J.M. Hensen at Eindhoven University of Technology succeeded in suppressing the side reactions and producing FDCA with high yields from concentrated HMF solutions (10~20 wt %) without by-products formation. Specifically, they first acetalized HMF with 1,3-propanediol to protect by-product-inducing formyl groups and then oxidized HMF-acetal with a supported Au catalyst. About 80 % of 1,3-propanediol used to protect formyl groups can be reused for the subsequent reactions. In addition, drastic improvement in the substrate concentration reduces the amount of solvents used in the production process. Kiyotaka Nakajima says “It is significant that our method can reduce the total energy consumption required for complex work-up processes to isolate the reaction product.” “These results represent a significant advance over the current state of the art, overcoming an inherent limitation of the oxidation of HMF to an important monomer for biopolymer production. Controlling the reactivity of formyl group could open the door for the production of commodity chemicals from sugar-based biomaterials,” says Kiyotaka Nakajima. This study was conducted jointly with Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation. MT [1] Kim M., et al., Aerobic oxidation of HMF-cyclic acetal enables selective FDCA formation with CEO2-supported Au catalyst, Angewandte Chemie International Edition, May 14, 2018. DOI: 10.1002/anie.201805457 Conventional methods produce by-products making large-scale FDCA production difficult, while this new method yields FDCA efficiently without by-products formation [1]. HO O O O PD-HMF cat. Au-CeO 2 Selectivity: 91 % (20 wt% concentration) Acetal protection suppresses byproduct formation HO O O FDCA Byproduct O OH cat. Au-CeO 2 Selectivity: 28 % (10 wt% concentration) Major pathway (10 wt% concentration) HO O O HMF H bioplastics MAGAZINE [06/18] Vol. 13 29

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