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This company has a way to replace plastic in clothing

Luke Havelhals wants Change how to make yoga pants. Most performance fabrics used in athletic clothing such as spandex are made from synthetic fibers, which are essentially plastic. These plastics are problematic for humans and the environment. Natural Fiber Welding, a company of Haverhals, offers alternatives to synthetic fibers.

NFW manufactures a performance cotton textile called Clarus that can be used on clothing. The fabric is made of cotton that has been treated to partially decompose organic material to make it stronger and denser. The result is a cotton thread that behaves like a synthetic fiber.

When asked if his company was a tech company or a textile company, Havelhals replied without hesitation. “We are a technology company … but our first focus is on textiles.”

Haverhals received his PhD in Chemistry and took up a teaching position at the Navy School in 2008. So he worked with a team of chemists and materials scientists to study ionic liquids, which are essentially molten salts. These salts usually remain liquid at room temperature and can be used as a solvent to break down biomass such as cotton and cellulose. In 2009, funded by the Air Force’s Office of Scientific Research and Development, the team made great strides in using ionic liquids to fortify natural fibers.

The team asked what would happen if the natural fibers were partially decomposed and then welded or fused together. The result is a kind of monofilament cotton. The length of the original fiber may be only a few centimeters, but the partially melted and fused fibers can be much longer. This creates a stronger yarn that mimics the performance characteristics of synthetic fibers.

In 2016, Havelhals left the Navy School and founded NFW with a grant from the Department of Defense and a license from the Air Force, using a process that became known as “textile welding” for yarn and textiles. Manufactured. The company has eight patents worldwide and is applying for 90 patents.

Haverhals and NFW win praise from plastic critics, as well as marketing campaign critics who claim to have eliminated them. There is growing concern that plastic microfiber synthetic materials such as polyester will fall off each time the washing machine is turned. “I think he (Luke) is real. I don’t think there are many real people,” says Sian Sutherland, founder of APlastic Planet, a nonprofit organization that aims to eliminate the use of plastic. “This is not only about eradicating fossil fuels in the textile industry, but more than about toxins.”

NFW has attracted a few well-known investors such as Ralph Lauren, BMW’s iVentures and Allbirds. The company announced in July that it had raised $ 15 million from individual investors, bringing the total to $ 45 million. Part of that money was used to expand the plant in Peoria, Illinois, and is currently working to expand production to hundreds of thousands of square feet of Claras a month. In September, NFW announced a partnership with Patagonia to incorporate Claras fiber into some of its brand new products. Haverhals says hundreds of brands are lined up to buy their textiles for their products. He states that NFW will provide manufacturers with standardized products and work with brands that want to develop specialized textiles.

Miram, another NFW product line, is a plant-based alternative to leather. Made from coconut husks, natural rubber, cork, etc., it uses patented chemicals that do not use petrochemical additives to improve hardening or durability. This makes Mirum different from other synthetic fibers that rely on harsh chemical treatments to achieve the desired consistency and feel. The company is marketing it as a leather replacement for products such as car interiors and shoes. Allbirds will soon be selling shoes made with Miram.

Kasper Sage, Managing Partner of BMW’s iVentures Venture Capital Division, says NFW is promising because of its high quality, sustainable products and scalable technology. This is important for car makers. “This is the only company we’ve found … trying to tackle this problem and it could really get it done in serious car production,” says Sage.

This company has a way to replace plastic in clothing

Source link This company has a way to replace plastic in clothing

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