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Project on developing inflammable fabrics
06
Dec '10
In order to explore potential for technical textiles, the MoT has awarded NITRA three projects on protective textiles for the year 2010-11. The project titles are Development of cut resistant & abrasion resistant protective textile by using composite metallic yarn, Developing shield of corn fabrics for enhancing the protection from flame, and Developing armor using hi-modulus polyethylene (HMPE) fibre.

Scientists at Northern India Textile Research Association - NITRA have already started working in the above projects. In the previous issue of NITRA e-Bulletin, we apprised you about the first project i.e. project on cut resistant & abrasion resistant protective textile by using composite metallic yarn. In this particular issue and the forthcoming issue, we present before you a brief highlight of the other two projects.

Title: Developing shield of corn fabrics for enhancing the protection from flame
Broad Subject: Developing inflammable fabrics
Duration: 18 Months

Corn fibre is developed from PolyLactic Acid (PLA). PLA (PolyLactic Acid) is a biodegradable material originally derived from renewable agricultural resources such as corn. PLA is a versatile polymer made from lactic acid, which in turn is derived from the fermentation of dextrose extracted from corn.

The water is then removed and converted to fibre form. Corn is being used as the dextrose source because of its abundance and low cost. Corn fibre is part of the new class of green textiles. Some technological analysis has shown that corn fibre is a kind of yogurt polymer.

The corn fibre has similar characteristics to polyester staple fibre (PSF) and has the lusture of silk and is less flammable. Its LOI % (26-35) is higher than other fibres such as Polyerster (20-22), Cotton (16-17), Wool (24-25), Rayon (17-19), and Nylon 6 (20-24). It also shows low CO2 and CO emission from burning. Moreover, it is less flammable, exquisite skin sensational, bacteria resistant and mildew-proof. Hence it can be regarded as an environmental-friendly new less flammable textile material.

As a result, the fabrics produced from corn fibre exhibit excellent low flammability (LOI 26+) and good hand touch because of intrinsic properties in corn. It can be widely used in outer coat for fire fighters, shirt, T shirt, jacket, trousers and dress. The intrinsic properties in fibre help in preventing the flame, bacteria, and UV rays. In order to achieve varied properties of fabric, use of various properties of corn fibres such as low flammability, Less CO2 & CO emission and smoke generation, antibacterial, good hand touch and drape etc. can be exploited.

The corn fibre and its fabrics are not popular in India and since the fibre has many intrinsic properties like less flammability, it can be used to develop new products by mixing it with other fibres such as bamboo, cotton, polyester etc. By making different blends of corn with other fibres, the properties of the resulting fabrics can be examined. The proposal has been submitted keeping in view the future export potential of flame retardant corn fibre fabrics and also the corn-based alternative could put a dent in our dependence on foreign oil.

Northern India Textile Research Association - NITRA

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