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textiles

Microbial Lifeforms Offer New Sources of Color

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Microbial Lifeforms Offer New Sources of Color

Bacteria may be too small to see, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t colorful. An Austrian start-up called Vienna Textile Lab is taking advantage of that with a new line of dyes that are made using naturally-occurring bacteria.

Synthetic dyes on the market often rely on petrochemicals, whereas many of the natural dyes are subject to the conventional limitations that face all natural products: seasonal and geographic limitations, and the vagaries of weather. By cultivating bacterial strains in the lab, Vienna Textile Lab is able to capture the best of both worlds - a natural source of dyes that is endlessly renewable on demand.

The company has already developed a wide range of colors, and demonstrated that its dyes are both colorfast and capable of use with materials from cotton and wool to polyester. The company’s early commercialization plans focus on selling dyed fabric, but they ultimately hope to license the technology to large-scale textile manufacturers.

Website: https://www.viennatextilelab.at/faq/

What video HERE.



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Resource Fix: Color in material without dye

A new thin, flexible synthetic material mimics nature’s brightest colors--think butterfly wings, peacock feathers, and opal. Because the material’s color comes from the microscopic particles that comprise it, rather than pigments, the color doesn’t fade over time or run. These properties make the material a candidate for incorporating color in textiles without the use of dyes. The material is also responsive, changing color when pulled, twisted, or strained, which could be useful in applications having to do with sensing weight or tension applied to a material.

Relying on the material’s structure, rather than added pigments, this material constitutes a sea change in how we think about color. How can your industry or company re-think the very structure of its products in order to eliminate the use of some materials, thereby enhancing resource performance?

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