The team developed new cross-linking methods by investigating several chemicals that has shown wrinkle-resistant properties without requiring formaldehyde. All combinations of these chemicals were then tested and the best results were obtained by cross-linking citric acid with xylitol.
Citric acid which is a mediocre anti-wrinkling agent, tends to yellow fabrics. However, when it is cross-linked with xylitol, the discolouration is mitigated and the anti-wrinkling effect is improved. This combination is entirely environmentally friendly, made up with renewable raw materials.
The researchers – Jian Liu, Bijia Wang, Xiaomei Xu, Jiangang Chen, Luyi Chen, and Yiqi Yang – also established a scale-up method that is more cost-effective than other "green" or formaldehyde-based options.
Presently, manufacturers use a chemical process called cross-linking to create textiles that are less likely to wrinkle. But this method often involves hazardous chemical agents that contain a significant amount of formaldehyde, which could leak from the clothing during the manufacturing, wearing or washing process raising environmental and health concerns.
This research was funded by the Chinese national high technology research and development program and US department of agriculture. (NA)
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