Polylactic acid (PLA) is a sustainable and eco-friendly renewably-sourced polymer that is both biodegradable and compostable. Although it offers substantial commercial perspectives as a textile fiber, the possibilities of using PLA in apparel applications have not yet been thoroughly explored.
This led PhD candidates Muhammad Maqsood (project leader), Naveen Balakrishnan and Prof. Gunnar Seide of the Polymer engineering group of the Aachen-Maastricht Institute for Biobased Materials to study this polymer within the scope of the BioTex Fieldlab project.
The aim of their study was to develop biobased compostable socks from PLA, to draw textured melt spun yarns, and to examine the effect of yarn linear density, fabric structure and stitch density on the thermo-physiological characteristics of PLA based socks. Two different linear density 100% PLA-based multifilament yarns were melt spun and later draw textured on false twist texturing machine to be used for sock knitting. Single jersey and rib structures were produced with two different stitch densities to investigate their effect on thermal resistance, relative water vapor permeability, thermal conductivity, vertical wicking and air permeability of the socks.
The outcomes of this research may be useful in determining suitable manufacturing requirements of PLA based socks to accomplish precise thermo-physiological properties.
The goal of the project BioTex Fieldlab is co-create the development of new textile products, based on innovative fibers from biobased polymers. Besides Avantium’s biopolymers PEF and Corbion’s PLA, the testing ground will focus on a wide range of other biopolymers for the development of textile applications such as bioPET, bioPA, PT, PBS, PHA or completely new developments. The field lab is also open to research assignments from companies outside of the initial consortium.