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Plant-based nylon

Japanese textile Toray Industries developed a nylon fibre made entirely of plant-based polymers.

Nylon was invented in the United States in the 1930s. Because of its supple, durable and wrinkle-resistant properties, it has been used in many applications, including apparel. However, the downside of nylon is that it is derived from petroleum and adds to environmental problems like global warming and plastic pollution.

The new material is made by polymerizing and spinning plant-derived sebacic acid and pentamethylenediamine, derived from the castor bean plant and corn respectively. Called Ecodia N510, the material is 100% plant-derived. The company says the material has the same characteristics as conventional nylon, similar strength and heat resistance, as well as dimensional stability.

In the future, Today aims to reduce the weight of the fibre by reducing the thickness and making the cross-sectional shape of the fibre irregular to increase functionality.

The fibre is already being used in apparel, as it will be used to initially make sportswear and outdoor clothing. The fabric will go on sale for the autumn/winter 2023 season.

In the press release, no claims to the fibre’s biodegradability or recyclability are made.

Images: Toray Industries