Development of a controlled degradation of synthetic or biopolymer textiles for special applications
The degradation of textile materials in carbon dioxide is an interesting route to resolve the end-of-life issues of a number of applications. In the case of agro- or geotextiles it is not always feasible to recover or remove the products in a quantative manner. For these applications natural fibres can be used, although their processing into specific structures is not so easy. Another alternative is the use of biopolymers but these materials do not always have the appropriate (bio)degradation profile either.
Oxodegradable polymeric systems may offer a solution since they combine a good processability of thermoplastics resulting into good mechanical properties with an accelerated degradation process. These materials contain additives that will cause the oxidative degradation of polymer matrices such as polyolefins or polyesters, and breaking the long polymer chains down to short fragments. These fragments may then be assimilated by microorganisms and will finally be converted into carbon dioxide. At present these oxodegradable formulations are especially used for the film extrusion for the production of packaging materials.
THE CHALLENGE is to develop custom-made formulations, guaranteeing both a good processability and a perfect control of the degradation rate.