The establishment of commercially viable elastic filament yarns made from CO2-containing TPU.


Oct 31, 2021


Oct 30, 2022

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The greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) is an abundant, recyclable and - compared to many biogenic raw materials - inexpensive educt for the production of specific polymers. Technologies exist for using CO2 in the production of polyols that can be used e.g. for the polymerization of thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPU). TPU yarns are a melt spinnable alternative for conventionally dry-spun elastanes and have several advantages e.g. no need for solvents in processing. First elastic filament yarns from CO2-TPU have already been spun on pilot scale plants and transferred to textile demonstrator applications. However, the developed TPU-yarns currently have a particular tackiness, which poses challenges in further processing and thus makes industrialisation difficult.
The global market for elastic filaments is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8 % and to reach a volume of 1.5 million tons by 2023. Elastic filaments are used in 80 % of all clothing products and are thus a globally significant economic and ecological factor.

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The aim of the project “CO2Tex” is the establishment of commercially viable elastic filament yarns made from CO2-containing TPU. At the end of the project, these yarns can be processed as easily as possible with existing industrial plants into yarns as well as textile pre- and end- products.

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In order to develop a stable and reproducible melt spinning process for TPU-yarns containing CO2, modifications are being made to spinning plants. These include the investigation of spinnerets, filament cooling, godet surfaces and winding technology. In addition, spin finishes are adapted to the process and tested.. The developments are scaled up from technical to industrial scale. If the production of suitable yarns is possible, the process chain for the production of sports and medical textiles is investigated and adapted. This includes the processes of covering, knitting and finishing. Finally, the use of TPU-yarns containing CO2 is evaluated ecologically and economically by life-cycle-assessment (LCA).

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