Specialty Fabrics Review June 2020 - 40

FOCUS

ADVANCED TEXTILES

Developed by the R&D labs
at DuPont™, Sorona® is made,
in part, with glucose derived
from harvested crops, such as
field corn. The resulting highperformance polymer can
be used in a variety of endproduct applications.

Sustainability and value
The textile industry turns to biomaterials and biomimetics
for green alternatives.
BY GLENNA B. MUSANTE

T

extile and outdoor gear communities are looking for ways to limit the use of petroleum products. To achieve this goal, apparel and gear brands, as well as ingredient
manufacturers within the textile industry supply chain, are beginning to replace
or augment plastics and polyester with biomaterials. Textile companies are also turning
to biomimetic processes.
Jan Beringer, senior scientific expert with the Hohenstein Institute for Textile Innovation, says this growing trend in the textile industry is tied largely to sustainability. But
that is not the only reason textile companies are turning to Mother Nature for materials
and design inspiration. Some natural products and processes can enhance the performance
value of a product.

brrr° is a performance textile technology
that uses natural salts and minerals that
are integrated into the extrusion process
to create cooling properties. It is is now
being used by various clothing brands
such as this Mizzen+Main men's blazer.
Photo: brrr°.

NATURAL SUCCESSES
"The textile industry needs to make a greener product," Beringer said, during an interview
at the 2020 Winter Outdoor Retailer and Snow Show in Denver, Colo. He said companies
across the textile sector are finding new ways to improve the degradation of synthetic textiles
in the environment without sacrificing the performance characteristics consumers expect.
"This has been a constant effort for the last one to five years."
He named DuPont™ Sorona® as an example. DuPont's marketing materials describe
Sorona as a textile "on the forefront of the shift from oil-based materials to bio-based ones."
Developed by DuPont's R&D labs, Sorona is made, in part, with glucose. The manufacturing
process begins with harvesting crops, then extracting glucose from those crops and adding
microorganisms to the glucose to begin a fermentation process (similar to the production
of alcohol). Fermentation replaces chemical synthesis, producing PDO (1,3-Propanediol).
TPA (terephthalic acid) is added to the Bio-PDO™, creating a molecular bond.
DuPont describes Sorona as a high-performance polymer with a variety of end product
applications. Sorona Revive fabric, for example, can be used in applications with spandex to
add stretch in addition to recovery for apparel shape-retention. DuPont adds that 37 percent
of the end polymer is made from annually renewable plant-based ingredients.
According to Beringer, a number of natural materials are being used by the textile industry
to develop bio-based fabrics or fabric blends, including milk, cornstarch and algae (which
uses CO2 from the atmosphere).

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Specialty Fabrics Review June 2020

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