Fabric has been dyed by the same wasteful method for over 100 years. This involves chemical agents being added to a dye bath and thrown away afterwards. A new process developed by EUREKA project E! 2625 EUROENVIRON ECDVAT (ElectroChemical Dyeing with Vat dyes) replaces environmentally damaging chemical reducing agents with electrons.
According to Prof. Dr. Thomas Bechtold of the University of Innsbruck’s Textiles Department, the new process can be more easily controlled. Using the conventional method, the amounts of chemicals and the bath temperature have to be calculated very carefully to get the dye level right. “With the new method, dyers can monitor the situation in the dye bath and can increase the electrochemical addition of chemicals to “steer” the process. Using electrons instead of chemicals means that the dye bath can be monitored and adjusted in real time,” explains Bechtold. “This is a big advantage and allows us to maintain the high quality of the dyed fabric,” he says.
The new process also has environmental benefits. Any chemicals released with ECDVAT are easily biodegradable and the partners are working towards greater water savings, expected to be as high as 85% of the volume used today in the dyeing process.
Nicola Vatthauer | alfa
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