EUREKA project develops cheaper cleaner process for dying fabric

September 19, 2003

Brussels, 18 Sep 2003

In an attempt to offer a cleaner and more cost effective alternative to traditional methods of dying fabric, a project funded by EUREKA has developed a method that uses electrons instead of chemical reducing agents to control the dyeing process.

In conventional methods of dyeing fabric, the levels of chemicals and the temperature of the dye bath have to be carefully calculated and controlled in order to obtain the right dye. To facilitate these calculations, the new process developed by the ECDVAT project replaces the reducing agents with electrons. As project partner Thomas Bechtold of the University of Innsbruck's textiles department explains, the new process will enable dyers to monitor the situation in the dye bath more easily.

'Using electrons instead of chemicals means that the dye bath can be monitored and adjusted in real time. This is a big advantage and allows us to maintain the high quality of the dyed fabric,' says Professor Bechtold.

The new process also has environmental benefits. When fabric is dyed using traditional methods, the chemical reducing agents used in the bath are thrown away. To address this, the ECDVAT consortium is using chemicals that are easily biodegradable. Furthermore, the scientists involved believe that their method is also capable of reducing up to 85 per cent of the water necessary for the dyeing process.

While a better controlled process will result in savings vis-à-vis chemical costs and fresh and waste wastewater treatment, the equipment used in the newly development method is too expensive from a commercial point of view, says Wolfgang Schrott, head of technical marketing at the German project partner, Dystar Textilfarben.

Part of the team's strategy will be to examine other forms of technology with a view to bringing down the price of the equipment. It is also hoped that the process will attract interest from firms working in the fabric industry.

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CORDIS RTD-NEWS / © European Communities

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