Skip to main content

Environmentally friendly bleaching of natural fibres by advanced techniques: photosensitised, corona activated, enzyme-catalysed


The aim of the project is making the finishing of natural fibres more environmentally acceptable.

A first step in the program is the selection of reference substrates and model compounds. Standard textile substrates will be selected suitable for all participants. Natural model substances occurring in textile raw material, dyes, auxiliaries and enzymes will be selected.

Kinetic investigations will be performed. The aim of this research is to provide a model for the mathematical simulation of the bleaching. The simulation will provide a better understanding of the degradation and the bleaching of textile substrates will help in selecting the optimal conditions for the bleaching and indicate competing reactions. This part of the research incorporates as well the testing in the laboratory as the mathematical modelling step.

An important parameter will be the reduction and degradation of the organic material present on the textile substrate. New analytical techniques will be developed to measure the reduction of organic material and the colour change of the substrate.

A possible improvement in environmental performance will be the use of pretreatments before bleaching. Different advanced types of pretreatments will be used : oxidative, enzymatic and plasma. The substrates will be tested for their mechanical and chemical properties, whiteness and surface modifications.

Together with the pretreatment the bleaching itself will be optimised. Different novel bleaching technologies such as corona, plasma, enzymes and UV will be tested. The substrate will be evaluated for colour, whiteness, yellowness, degree of polymerisation, hydrophility, alkali solubility, light stability and the diffusion behaviour. The waste water will be tested for AOX, pesticides, COD, BOD and rotproofing agents.

The photobleaching/phototendering of wetted fabrics of wool and silk will be studied to achieve a photobleacing, wool shall be exposed to light using different equipment. Techniques to promote the photobleaching of wool by using photosensitizers will be elaborated. The photobleaching of unscoured and scoured cellulose (iron content) will be investigated in the presence of oxygen, hydrogen peroxide, and commercial dyes. The activity of bleaching and degradation (phototendering) of fabric will be measured. The results will be compared with classic oxidative bleaching for a number of variable.

To develop improved synergetic bleaching techniques by pretreatments with oxidative agents, plasma, corona, enzymes and photobleaching or conventional bleaching it is proposed to investigate advanced techniques of catalysis : photosensitisation, corona-discharge and enzymatic activation of peroxide bleaching.

The bleaching and fading efficiency will be evaluated based on the removal rate of substrate and reactant, and the obtained quality of bleaching.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


7,Technologiepark Zwijnaarde 7
9052 Zwijnaarde

Participants (3)

Deutsches Wollforschungsinstitut an der Technischen Hochschule Aachen eV
Veltmanplatz 8
52062 Aachen
Institut Textile de France
Avenue Guy De Collongue
69132 Ecully
Stazione Sperimentale per la Seta
Via Giuseppe Colombo 81
20133 Milano