A professor of the Department of Applied Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Rajshahi University (RU), Bangladesh, has developed a low cost eco-friendly technology for textile pre-treatment. The new process technology is expected to reduce environmental pollution significantly.
Dr Mohammad Taufiq Alam, the developer, filed a provisional patent application for the invention with the Department of Patents, Designs and Trademarks under the Ministry of Industries. The technology has been developed under an industry-university collaborative sub-project of Higher Education Quality Enhancement Project (HEQEP) and is being implemented by the Department of Applied Chemistry and Chemical Engineering of RU.
Quoting a study report, Alam said the textile industry at present consumes twice the volume of water consumed by the entire population of Dhaka city. Furthermore, textile pre-treatment process requires high energy input and generates a large amount of biochemical and chemical oxygen. Cotton fabrics are mainly composed of 90% to 95% cellulose and surrounded by outermost non-cellulosic surface, the cuticle. The presence of cuticle layer on the cotton surface drastically interferes with the wettability and dyeability.
Currently used conventional chemical pre-treatment process to remove the cuticle layer has led to serious water pollution as it involves the use of corrosive chemicals like sodium hydroxide, surfactants, chelators and H2O2 at boiling temperatures.
Moreover, the aggressive pre-treatment frequently damages the fabric and increases health risks of operators. The alternative is an eco-friendly enzymatic process developed in the last few years. Despite frequent reports on this enzymatic process of cotton, its industrial use has not spread because of its inability to remove cuticle completely, as a result desired whiteness and dyeability for light shade fabric was not achieved.
Dr Alam said he and his team have synthesized a pre-treatment agent at low cost that shows synergistic effect when used with above eco-friendly enzymatic process. In conjunction with enzyme, it will perform pre-treatment and polishing together in a single bath, so that 45% water, 35% energy and 45% time can be saved compared to currently used conventional chemical pre-treatment process. It will also significantly improve the whiteness and dye absorbency compared to above co-friendly enzymatic process so that light shade dyeing is achievable.