Towards textiles of the future: On-Off sustainable dyeing process
The environmentally costly production of virgin textile together with the large volume of textile discarded every year is of fundamental concern. The aim of this project is thus to contribute to a more sustainable society by addressing the issue of cotton recycling. This will be achieved by a new and sustainable On-Off dyeing method of textile fabrics using novel and environmentally benign surfactants and industrially relevant hydrophobic dyes. The *On* concept will capitalize on an appropriate choice of the head-group of the surfactants to control the loading of the particles on the fibers. The *Off* function will be ensured by the introduction of an on-demand cleavable bond in the surfactant to enable dye release from the textile. The initial focus will be on the synthesis of new amino-acid based surfactants capable of efficiently dispersing the dye and promoting strong binding to the fibers. In a second step, knowledge on the particle-fiber interaction will be gained by analyzing the dyeing of model cellulose surfaces. The dyeing test will later be extended to larger cotton fabrics obtained from our industrial network and the robustness of this new dyeing technology against washing will be evaluated via color evaluation tests and microscopy. Finally de-dyeing of the textile will be studied using both chemical and enzymatic means. The introduction of this new technology could be an efficient response to the worldwide need for closed-loop textile recycling processes.
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