Poly(lactic acid) (PLA) is a linear aliphatic polyester that is derived from 100 % renewable sources and decomposes into CO2, water, biomass, humus, and other natural substances. It can be dyed using a typical textile dyeing process, where it is scoured with detergent and alkali to remove hydrophobic auxiliaries, then dyed with disperse dyes in an aqueous dyebath.
Patrick McGowan and co-workers, University of Leeds, UK, report a method for forming PLA that removes the need for wet-processing operations. The dye is directly incorporated into the backbone of the polymer from an aluminium-based catalyst.
This process yields colorant by mass of 0.5–0.7 % with respect to mass of the polymer; significantly less than that of conventionally dyed textiles wherein medium and dark shades would typically require 2.0–10.0 % dye with respect to the mass of the fiber.
- The Combined Synthesis and Coloration of Poly(lactic acid)
R. O. MacRae, C. M. Pask, L. K. Burdsall, R. S. Blackburn, C. M. Rayner, P. C. McGowan
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2010, 49.
- R. O. MacRae, C. M. Pask, L. K. Burdsall, R. S. Blackburn, C. M. Rayner, P. C. McGowan
Angew. Chem. 2010, 122.