Innovative technologies for sustainable textile coloration, patterning, and surface effects

The environmental impact of textile dyeing and finishing is of paramount concern in the textile industry. Enzyme and laser processing technologies present attractive alternatives to conventional textile coloration and surface patterning methods. Both technologies have the capability to reduce the impact of manufacturing on the environment by reducing the consumption of chemicals, water and energy, and the subsequent generation of waste. Two emerging textile processing technologies, laser processing and enzyme biotechnology, were investigated as a means of applying surface design and color to materials with a focus on improving the efficiency and sustainability of existing textile design and finishing methods. Through industrial stakeholder engagement and interdisciplinary research involving textile design, fiber and dye chemistry, biotechnology and optical engineering, this design-led project brought together design practice and science with a commercial focus. Each technology was used to modify targeted material properties, finding and exploiting opportunities for the design and finishing of textiles. The work resulted in a catalog of new coloration and design techniques for both technologies making it possible to achieve: selective surface pattern by differential dyeing, combined three-dimensional and color finishing and novel coloration of textile materials. The chapter provides a literature review mapping the use of enzyme biotechnology and laser processing technology within textile design and manufacturing to date, identifying current and future opportunities to reduce environmental impacts through their application. The methodological approach, which was interdisciplinary and design-led, will be introduced and the specific design and scientific methods applied will be detailed. Each of the techniques developed will be discussed and examples of the design effects achieved will be presented. And, an indication of the reductions in chemical effluent, efficiencies in resource use, and design-flexibility in comparison with traditional textile coloration and surface patterning techniques will be given.