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STTR Phase I: Next Generation Dyes for a Sustainable Future
Phone: (773) 844-1163
Phone: (773) 844-1163
Contact: Nina C Shapley
Type: Nonprofit college or university
The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is in developing a technologically advanced textile dye particle originating with plant material that will reduce water pollution, help alleviate stress on constrained water supplies, and improve factory worker health by creating a high performance, low water use natural dye for fabrics. Wet textile processing is the largest contributor to fresh water pollution worldwide. The waste-water carries a significant amount of toxic chemicals such as salts, heavy metals including chrome, and toxic biocides, organic chemicals and anions that are energy consumptive and difficult to clean. These chemicals affect the people who work with them and ecosystems worldwide. Engineering a technologically advanced natural dye and application process in the United States will satisfy a consumer demand for healthier options for themselves and their children in apparel, bedding and other textiles; will simultaneously create manufacturing, engineering and technology jobs; and will drastically reduce water use and dye pollution. The new technology will be competitive with current dyeing solutions, even at a premium cost, because of the inherent value added. It will serve as a model and supplier to disrupt a very mature industry on a global scale eventually reaching an economy of scale for mass market over 5-10 years. This Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) Phase 1 project will result in a natural dye process that is a healthy alternative to chemical based dyeing of textiles. Chemical based dyes often contain known carcinogens and pollute environments and create serious and lasting healthy problems for industry workers. The developed natural dye technology will be able to compete against chemical dyes in both performance and cost. The research will examine the effects of microencapsulating natural dye molecules in order to protect the dyes from UV light and fading with washing while retaining the environmental and health benefit of plant based dyes. Another key objective is to ensure a one-step attachment of the particles by adding "green" binder materials to foam formulations. Foam application onto textiles has high absorption rates with low moisture, therefore creating less waste, more even dyeing and 80% less water usage than commonly used water baths for dyeing. The anticipated results are that the microencapsulated dye particles will permanently bond to the textiles and give the high performance value of colorfastness while reducing manufacturing costs and using natural resources.
* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *