ERUTAN® decided to replace all synthetic substances and chemicals with organic materials… It is a natural solution.
The major innovation, according to the team, is swapping synthetic ingredients for organic ones - and getting rid of latex. In an ordinary carpet, there are usually two layers of latex on the backside, necessary for "gluing" the fibers to the backing fabric and keeping the dimensional stability of the carpet. Some 1.2 kg of latex is normally required per square meter.
After the carpet's us, it is usually impossible to take the latex off in order to recycle the product. But the ERUTAN®-group decided to eliminate this substance altogether - and replace it with an organic adhesive. Lignin is a basic biopolymer that is a natural waste product from paper industry and a compound of many materials, including wood. It is normally burned for energy - but Dr. Tzanov's team of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Barcelona/Spain uses a biotechnology - oxidative enzymes - to convert it into organic ‘glue’. “All this happens at about 50°C instead of 150°C as for latex," he adds.
Enzymes are proteins that catalyze or increase the rates of chemical reactions, and they are used to speed up a natural process. With this enzymatically-generated adhesive, the scientists were able to bond linen - the main component of the backing fabric and a natural cellulose material - with wool fiber in a matter of minutes.
"It's the same as when you did your laundry in the washing machine 20 years ago - to get it as clean as a modern machine gets it now, it would take you a really long time," said Yvar Monasch from project partner Best Wool Carpets B.V. "But with enzymes in washing powders everything has gotten faster, you use less water, it's much better for the environment and those enzymes come from nature," he summarizes.
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