Why polyester is so popular as an eco-friendly fabric
A new paper in the Journal of Consumer Science looks at the chemistry of polyester and concludes that it’s a more sustainable fabric than the polyester used in most consumer goods.
The authors used a computer simulation of the process to see how much energy a polymer made from the same materials could produce.
Their results are significant.
The paper’s co-author, a chemist from the University of Michigan, said the finding suggests that polyester has a lower carbon footprint than conventional plastics.
But it also has an environmental footprint, as polyester comes from a waste stream that could lead to deforestation.
“There are two types of plastic in the world, but only one of them is made from sustainable materials,” said co-lead author Todras R. Zengas, a chemical engineer at the University at Buffalo.
“The other is made of synthetic materials.”
The paper was published online Feb. 26 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Zingas and his colleagues compared the emissions of a plastic made from polyester to a polymer that is made in a process called photo-oxidation.
They compared the results from the process with those from a plastic used in a number of other consumer goods, including fabrics, glass, ceramics and plastics.
They also looked at the impact of these products on the planet’s carbon footprint.
“Our results suggest that polyesters are more sustainable than plastics,” Zengals said.
“We can make plastics from waste, but that’s a waste that can be avoided.”
The scientists tested how the chemical process could affect the energy of plastic.
They used a simple carbon cycle that uses carbon dioxide to break down carbon monoxide.
This produces a compound called di-methylene sulfonate (DMSO).
The researchers used a system that would allow them to measure the energy released by the process, but they didn’t have the power to accurately measure the amount of energy produced from the waste stream.
They instead used a process that allows them to accurately record the energy used.
They found that by controlling the temperature and pressure of the plastic, they could accurately calculate the energy output of the photo-oxygen process.
The process releases around 20,000 megajoules of energy per gram of polyethylene.
The energy released is enough to produce a little more than 1.2 million tonnes of CO 2 a year, or about the same amount of CO emissions as a typical automobile.
The team calculated that the energy that the process releases is equivalent to the energy produced by one car running about 40,000 kilometres.
They calculated that it takes about one kilometre of road to produce the same total energy from a typical polyester fiber.
The scientists found that the same process produces more energy than the process used to make polyester.
But they also found that even though the energy release is equivalent, the energy is still low.
The researchers also measured the energy consumption of the polymer used in the process.
This process produces about 10 kilowatts of power per gram.
The same amount produced by a typical car runs about 500 to 600 kilometres.
“When you think about it, if you’re a business, you want to be able to produce enough energy to power your employees,” said Zengal.
“But you also want to have enough energy that it can be exported.”
The team used a number, including the amount required to power a car, to calculate the amount they could produce with the polymer.
They concluded that the amount produced is around 20 percent of the energy required to produce polyester from waste.
“This shows that even the cheapest polymer can be useful for making materials like polyester,” Zangas said.
However, the team cautions that the information they provided is still preliminary and that the technology they used isn’t perfect.
The study has a number limitations, including that the polymer was not tested for carbon emissions.
Also, the researchers did not calculate the efficiency of the conversion process.
“I am not a certified scientist,” said R. Paul Zang, an associate professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the New York University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
“These results are preliminary, and I don’t have a scientific instrument to confirm their findings.
However I can confirm that our polymer, which has been shown to be an excellent plastic, is a good plastic.”
He added that he thinks the process is feasible, but the paper doesn’t provide an assessment of the amount the polymer will be able deliver.
The research team also noted that some materials, like vinyl and other fabrics, require a process to reduce carbon emissions and that it could take more time to scale up the process if that were to happen.
Zang said the study is useful for researchers, who can use it as a tool to understand the processes involved in the production of different types of materials.
But he said it does not mean that the use of the technology is inevitable.
“That said, I would like to see the world more move towards a zero