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Renewable (bio) materials

High-quality textiles made from biopolymers and renewable materials

Centexbel researches in collaboration with a group of textile companies and colleague research centres the feasibility and applicability of novel renewable materials in view of a sustainable production of high-quality textile products.

Certain raw materials such as maize and sugar beets… may be transformed into synthetic granulates from which textile yarns are extruded. These biopolymers are synthesised from the starch, sugar and even the cellulose of plants.
This kind of research is in line with the actual planetary ecological awareness which marks Europe as one of the “lead markets” and that is finally coming to live in the United States with the instalment of the Obama administration!
This trend is an opportunity to western textile companies to take the lead in the production of very specific eco-products with unique properties such as controlled biodegradation, bioresorption…

The major challenge at this very moment is to match at least the excellent quality of the present petrol-based synthetic fibres: strength, affinity to processing, affinity to dyeing…

Centexbel carries out the following research projects in this field:

  • The Europe-oriented research project BIOTEXT is focused on the evaluation of experimental polymers that are not yet applied in textiles. This project will contribute to the development of the necessary knowledge about the selection of biopolymers, their processing and properties in textile applications. The results will be further developed in concrete applications in the field of hygienic and medical textiles. These new insights may induce textile companies to start R&D projects for special product developments.
  • The same insights have already resulted in setting up in-depth and large-scale research projets in the 7th Framework Programme. The BIOAGROTEX project - a collaboration between an large group of Belgian and European partners (industry and research centres) focuses on the development of novel high-quality textiles entirely made from natural fibres and polymers.
  • The collective research project POLY MELKZUUR (PLA) in textile applications financed by IWT-Vlaanderen aims at the optimisation and processabilty of biopolymers based PLA (Polylactic acids). Their specific properties are very promising for the development of high-quality and ecologic alternatives in various application fields.

The research focused on sustainable products and production methods is an overall concern in all activities and research fields of Centexbel.