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Technology and Innovation for Sustainable and Circular Business Model in Textiles and Fashion Brands: Close the Loop

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Research work of Manik Chandra Biswas, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA 

Eco-friendly Fiber Spinning Technology Development Focusing Textile Wastes Recycling and MMCFs Fabrication as Alternatives

manikSynthetic fibers such as polyester, polypropylene, nylon etc. are widely used in textiles and related industries. In recent decades, there has been an explosion of conscientious efforts to improve the sustainability and circularity of textile and fashion brands-related economies. As the global population increases, so has the use of clothing and its waste by-products. Recent clothing trends has sparked the demand for fast fashion, while spiking the pollution of clothing in landfills. Microfiber pollution in seawater and other waterways is of great concern. Such environmental concerns have caused efforts in sustainability to trends in the textile industry. This has prompted renewed interest in the use of natural and/or biodegradable fibers as alternatives to petroleum-based synthetics.

Manik Chandra Biswas is a doctoral candidate in the Fiber and Polymer Science program in Wilson College of Textiles, North Carolina State University, where he joined the program in Fall 2018 as a recipient of the North Carolina Textile Foundation (NCTF) fellowship, and his research focuses on improving the sustainability of the textile industry. We interviewed him to hear more about his amazing graduate research focusing towards sustainability and circular economy in Textiles and Fashion Industries as well as his plans for the future endeavors.Synthetic fibers such as polyester, polypropylene, nylon etc. are widely used in textiles and related industries. In recent decades, there has been an explosion of conscientious efforts to improve the sustainability and circularity of textile and fashion brands-related economies. As the global population increases, so has the use of clothing and its waste by-products. Recent clothing trends has sparked the demand for fast fashion, while spiking the pollution of clothing in landfills. Microfiber pollution in seawater and other waterways is of great concern. Such environmental concerns have caused efforts in sustainability to trends in the textile industry. This has prompted renewed interest in the use of natural and/or biodegradable fibers as alternatives to petroleum-based synthetics.

His doctoral research focuses on replacing toxic and environmentally harmful additives in clothing known as “cellulose acetate fibers” (which are found in high-quality, dry-clean-only clothing, such as wedding gowns) for stronger, greener fibers. He developed a sustainable clothing fiber spinning technology which is safer and greener when compared to current means, and filed a US patent for this technology and published a peer-reviewed journal article in the journal Carbohydrate Polymers. You can read the published article here: “Glucaric Acid Additives for the Antiplasticization of Fibers Wet Spun from Cellulose Acetate/Acetic Acid/Water”.

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Cellulose Acetate Fiber Strengthening using Bio-based Additives

These innovations in textile sustainability encourages a circular economy in both textile and agricultural industries, meaning fabrics are easily recycled and reused. His research focuses on both minimizing waste during production and manufacturing as well as ensure that fabrics in the end are sustainable, economically effective, and balanced. He also presented his research on additive-strengthened regenerated fibers at the International Society of Industrial Fabric Manufacturer (ISIFM)– which covers innovations in the downstream chemical industry such as spin finish technology, nanotechnology, fiber development, 3D weaving, and testing in October 21,2019 in Greenville, South Carolina, USA.

Left: Invited speaker at ISIFM Conference, Right: Ford Innovation Team (FIT); Manik Chandra Biswas (2nd from left 1st row); Dr. Ericka Ford

Left: Invited speaker at ISIFM Conference, Right: Ford Innovation Team (FIT); Manik Chandra Biswas (2nd from left 1st row); Dr. Ericka Ford (3rd from left 1st row), Wilson College of Textiles, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, USA.

The recycling of cellulose from cotton textiles would minimize the use of virgin crop fibers and nonrenewable petrochemicals as sources of resin for synthetic fiber production. Products manufactured from recycled polymers are generally inferior in mechanical performance to those made from virgin resin or natural fibers; this behavior would likely apply to regenerated cellulose (RC) sourced from recycled cellulose. This challenge prompted the investigation of biobased additives that were capable of improving the mechanical strength and stiffness of fibers by means of antiplasticizing additives. Another study focused on cellulose recycling from cotton T-shirts and mechanically strengthened with glucaric acid (GA), a nontoxic fermentation by-product that is capable of antiplasticizing RC fibers which won 1st place in TUFF CHALLENGE and recognized as GOLD WOLVES. The authors greatly acknowledge Tyton Biosciences for supporting this research and donating cotton pulp from recycled t-shirts and Kalion,Inc. for donating glucaric acid.

Research Objectives

  1. Investigating the feasibility of recycling cellulose into spun fibers with minimum loss in tensile strength supporting the circular textile economy.
  2. Developing sustainable and eco-friendly fiber processing techniques to upgrade brands reputation towards sustainability and circular economy.

Overall, his research on technology innovation for recycling and strengthening plant-based fibers as a potential alternative of petroleum-based polymers., might open up new route to reshore textiles and apparel industry in the USA as well as other countries.

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Sustainability and Circular Economy in Textiles

As a master’s student at Tuskegee University in Alabama, he published three peer-reviewed journal articles and two book chapters, wherein two papers describe the synthesis of nanomaterials from waste biomass and the subsequent reinforcement of plastics and antimicrobial food packaging. His fundamental background in applied chemistry, chemical engineering, polymers and fibers motivated him in innovations of green chemistry as well as their adoption by industry and government.

His most proud moments as a Bangladeshi International at North Carolina State University of accomplishing so far are (1) filing one US patent application as well as (2) drafted another paten disclosure, (3) published three journal articles (1 published, 2 In-progress) on his Ph.D. research work. You can read another recently published article here: “3D printing technology of polymer-fiber composites in textile and fashion industry: A potential roadmap of concept to consumer” in Composite Structures.  

Additionally, he received the North Carolina Textile Foundation (NCTF) fellowship (2018-2019), and served as Vice-President (Internal) and Secretary in the Textile Association of Graduate Students (TAGS) from 2018-2019 & 2019-2020 respectively. Overall, he is really grateful to join Wilson College, NC State University and Ford Innovation Team (FIT), Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science.

His dream is to be a future leader and driver in helping the textile industry adopts a circular economy. He would love to work in Research and Development at any National Laboratory or Industry and see himself as chief scientist. After 5-10 years, he wanted to be an entrepreneur and start his own company which would focus on creating sustainable materials to further production of valuable green products. By starting a company to make those materials, he would further encourage textile industries as well as any polymer and materials-oriented company like Eastman, Tesla, Nike, and even Amazon, to move towards a greener, more sustainable economy.

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About Manik Chandra Biswas

1020 Main Campus Drive.

Doctoral Candidate, Fiber and Polymer Science

Department of Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science

North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606, USA

Ph- +1(915)-258-7711

Email: mbiswas2@ncsu.edu

 

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