Creating more sustainable textile fibers with CO₂

Covestro has already proven how carbon dioxide (CO₂) can be used to produce soft polyurethane foam for mattresses and upholstered furniture. Based on this success, we’re turning our attention to another milestone: making elastic textile fibers more sustainable.
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The consortia of two research projects publicly funded by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) have succeeded in designing and testing a process to melt spin cardyon®-based thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPU). Covestro as producer of cardyon® collaborated closely with academic process researchers and textile manufacturers to develop materials and processing methods for elastic yarns that offer a lower environmental impact without compromising on quality. The German brand FALKE is one key partner, who already processed prototypes of the novel elastic yarns in industrial knitting machines. Our partners in textile industry envision to utilize novel elastic yarns for a broad spectrum of textile applications such as socks, medical textiles (for compression), but as well technical textiles. When the melt spinning process is industrialized, elastic yarns made from cardyon®-based TPU could become a more sustainable alternative to conventional elastic yarns.

Sustainable production process

Our solution  is an elastic yarn made from cardyon®-based TPU. 
Starting with CO₂ as an alternative raw material, which partially replaces fossil resources, we utilize novel, efficient technologies to produce a more sustainable TPU solution. This cardyon®-based TPU already reveals attractive material properties, which predestine it to be utilized in elastic filaments. 
In this case, a melt spinning process is used, which has been developed to advanced technical scale. By applying the melt spinning process the cardyon®-based TPU is molten, pressed into fine threads and then processed into a yarn of endless filaments. Unlike dry spinning, the melt spinning process doesn’t require substantial quantities of solvents. 
The result is an elastic yarn, which could become a more sustainable alternative to conventional elastic yarns in the near future.

Our goal is to use CO₂ in more and more applications in a circular economy process and save fossil resources

Dr. Markus Steilemann

CEO of Covestro

Development partners display interest 

Elastic yarns made of cardyon®-based TPU can be used in textile fabrics. First movers from various sectors of the textile industry have already tested prototypes of cardyon®-based TPU filaments and processed them inter alia into yarns, socks, compression bandages and small textiles for lingerie.
As soon as the melt spinning process for cardyon®-based TPU filaments has been industrialized, standardized qualities of the novel elastic yarns can be validated and their utilization in textile manufacturing processes can be tested. Subsequently, this more sustainable alternative to conventional elastic yarns can be commercialized and offered at the market.

Key Benefits

  • cardyon®-based TPU yarns can be produced by means of melt spinning, a more sustainable way than by means of dry spinning
  • cardyon®-based TPU yarns have the potential to perform in many textile applications

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