The textile industry creates new fibers to meet high tech needs/UNC-TV Science

The textile industry creates new fibers to meet high tech needs/UNC-TV Science


[CRUNCHING PLASTIC BOTTLES]>>PLASTIC BOTTLES ARE DIFFICULT
TO WALK ON — UNLESS THOSE BOTTLES ARE
RECYCLED INTO CARPETING. THAT’S RIGHT. YOU MIGHT BE WALKING ON THE
PLASTIC BOTTLE YOU DRANK FROM A FEW MONTHS AGO. THAT’S BECAUSE THESE CARPET
FIBERS AND PLASTIC BOTTLES SHARE A SIMILAR BEGINNING.>>A FULLY CROSS-LINKED POLYMER
THAT WE CALL POLYESTER. AND THEY CALL IT
POLYTEREPHTHALIC ACID. AND THAT’S WHAT WE USE. AND IT’S THE SAME THING THAT’S
USED IN THE — THE COKE BOTTLES, POP BOTTLES, UM, THE CLEAR
PACKAGING FOR FRUITS AND VEGETABLES AT YOUR GROCERY
STORE. ALL THAT IS — IS THIS POLYESTER
POLYMER.>>IT ALL STARTS WITH WHAT ARE
CALL P.E.T. PELLETS. THAT STANDS FOR POLYETHYLENE
TEREPHTHALATE. HERE’S HOW THE CHEMICAL REACTION
CAN BE REPRESENTED. ESSENTIALLY, IT’S MADE FROM
SEVERAL ORGANIC COMPOUNDS MIXED WITH CHEMICAL CATALYSTS.>>WE’RE GOING TO MAKE THIS INTO
A FIBER.>>AND DEPENDING HOW IT’S
PROCESSED, P.E.T. CAN BE MADE INTO THOUSANDS OF PRODUCTS. IT’S ALSO EASILY RECYCLED. THAT’S WHY THOSE SAME PROPERTIES
THAT ALLOW POLYESTER MOLECULES TO BE SHAPED INTO BOTTLES AND
FOOD CONTAINERS ALSO ALLOW IT TO BE STRETCHED INTO THIN CARPET
FIBERS. THE PROCESS IS CALLED EXTRUSION,
AND IT TAKES PLACE IN A THREE-STORY MANUFACTURING
FACILITY, AND IT’S ALL BASED ON CHEMISTRY. THE NEWLY MADE P.E.T. PELLETS
ALONG WITH RECYCLED PRODUCT ARE PULLED INTO A MACHINE WHERE THEY
ARE DRIED AND MELTED AT ABOUT 300 DEGREES CELSIUS. THAT’S ROUGHLY 570 DEGREES
FAHRENHEIT. IT’S THEN DRAWN INTO A SPINNERET
TO BE SHAPED AND THEN STRETCHED.>>IF HE STRETCHED IT, IT GOT
STRONGER. AND WHAT THAT WAS WAS THESE
LONG-CHAIN MOLECULES THAT THIS VESSEL CREATES ALLOWS YOU TO
STRETCH IT AND STRETCH IT AND STRETCH IT. AND ALL THOSE MOLECULES
INTERLACE THEMSELVES AND GIVE YOU A STRONG FIBER. SO — SO AS THE INDUSTRY
DEVELOPED, NYLON’S PRETTY EXPENSIVE. POLYPROPYLENE WAS PRETTY CHEAP. AND POLYESTER WAS SOMETHING IN
BETWEEN. IT WAS SOMETHING IN THE MIDDLE,
BUT IT’S GOT SOME GREAT FEATURES THAT — THAT ARE GREAT FOR
CARPET. IT’S GREAT FOR TEXTILES. IF YOU EVER LOOK AT YOUR
T-SHIRTS, IT’S ALWAYS A 50/50 COTTON BLEND OR SOMETHING
BECAUSE POLYESTER’S SYNTHETIC AND COTTON’S NATURAL. COTTON NATURAL HAS WICKING
CAPABILITY. POLYESTER DOESN’T LIKE MUCH
WATER, SO IT KIND OF WICKS ON ITS OWN.>>TRANSFORMING PELLETS INTO
CARPET FIBER ONLY TAKES ABOUT SEVEN MINUTES. THE HEAT AND CHEMICAL PROPERTIES
OF THE MOLECULE ALLOW THE MATERIAL TO BE MADE THINNER AND
THINNER AS IT GOES THROUGH THE PROCESS.>>AND THIS YARN, WHEN WE WIND
IT, IS GOING ABOUT 120 MILES AN HOUR. SO WE’RE MAKING IT VERY, VERY
FAST. AND OUR GOAL IS, IS THAT IF WE
HAVE 200 OF THESE FILAMENTS THAT WE’RE SPINNING TOGETHER INTO A
FIBER BUNDLE IS TO MAKE MILES AND MILES AND MILES OF YARN,
10,000 TO 20,000 MILES OF YARN, WITHOUT HAVING ONE OF THOSE
LITTLE FILAMENTS BREAK. LET ME GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE. IF YOU TAKE THIS FILAMENT,
BY THE TIME IT COMES TO OUR FINISHED YARN, IT’S GOING TO BE
ABOUT 20% THE SIZE OF A HUMAN HAIR.>>200 FILAMENTS TOGETHER MAKE
ONE THREAD.>>AND WHAT THESE ARE ARE
CROSS-SECTIONS OF FIBERS, AND THIS IS MAGNIFIED ABOUT
800 TIMES. BUT THIS IS — THIS IS ONE
FILAMENT, UM, IN AMONGST 200. AND THAT’S WHAT THE YARN SHAPE’S
GONNA BE, APPROXIMATELY, WHEN IT COMES OUT OF OUR SPINNERET.>>AND ALL THOSE FILAMENTS WITH
THAT UNUSUAL SHAPE MAKE CARPET FEEL SOFT.>>SO IF YOU HAVE A YARN SYSTEM
THAT’S MADE OUT OF DIFFERENT SHAPES, THAT HAVE DIFFERENT SIZE
WRINKLES AND DIFFERENT CORNERS ON THE EDGES, THEN YOU ACTUALLY
HAVE THE ABILITY TO PUT AIR IN BETWEEN ALL THOSE FILAMENTS. SO THAT’S WHERE WHEN YOU FEEL A
CARPET AND IT’S GOT THIS KIND OF SPRINGY BUOYANCY IS, WE’VE
TEXTURED THE YARN.>>AND THIS IS ALL BECAUSE OF
SCIENCE, BECAUSE SCIENCE HAS ALLOWED FOR THE CREATION OF NEW
MATERIALS THAT MAKE FOR MORE DURABLE CARPET, MORE AFFORDABLE
CARPET. AND THAT SCIENCE AFFECTS NOT
ONLY CARPET BUT ALSO PROTECTIVE CLOTHING.>>THE RAYON FIBER YOU SEE IS —
IS NOMEX. THE YELLOW FIBER YOU SEE IS
KEVLAR.>>YOU CAN SPOT THE KEVLAR AND
NOMEX, BUT THERE IS AN ALMOST INVISIBLE GRAY-COLORED THIRD
FIBER THAT IS ADDED TO THE MIX, AND THAT GETS RID OF STATIC
ELECTRICITY. THE MATERIAL IS USED IN MILITARY
APPLICATIONS. FIBER SCIENCE AND CHEMISTRY ARE
INTERTWINED THROUGHOUT THE PHARR YARNS COMPLEX.>>THERE’S NO ONE FIBER THAT
SOLVES EVERY PROTECTIVE SITUATION. SO WE TAKE SOME OF THE BEST
PROPERTIES OF DIFFERENT FIBERS AND BLEND THOSE TOGETHER.>>THIS MATERIAL IS MADE FROM
REGENERATED CELLULOSE. IT’S PART OF WHAT FORMS THE CELL
WALL IN PLANTS. IN THIS CASE, THE FIBERS ARE
MADE FROM THE BARK OF BIRCH TREES. IT IS VERY FIRE-RESISTANT. THIS IS ALSO FIRE-RESISTANT,
BUT IT’S MADE FROM THE SAME MATERIAL AS PVC PIPING. THIS IS TRADITIONAL NYLON,
BUT WHEN COMBINED WITH OTHER MATERIALS, IT PRODUCES FIBER
THAT IS CUT-RESISTANT. PHARR YARNS PRODUCES ABOUT
150 TYPES OF FIBERS.>>WE’RE YARN SPINNERS. OUR — OUR EXPERTISE HERE IS TO
KNOW THE DIFFERENT FIBERS AND THE EFFICACY OF THE CERTAIN
FIBERS, THE VALUE THAT THEY HAVE IN PROTECTION OR SOME
PERFORMANCE VALUE. AND WE KNOW HOW TO BLEND THOSE. SO OVER THE YEARS, WE’VE MORPHED
FROM BEING JUST TRUE SYNTHETIC, JUST POLYESTER OR COMMODITY
TYPE, TO REALLY HIGH-PERFORMANCE MATERIAL. SO TODAY OUR SCIENCE IS ABOUT
PROTECTING PEOPLE, PROTECTING PRODUCTS,
SOME DEFENSE-RELATED MATERIALS, INCLUDING GARMENTS THAT OUR —
THAT OUR SOLDIERS AND AIRMEN, BOTH WOMEN AND MEN, WEAR WHEN
THEY’RE IN TACTICAL SITUATIONS. ALL SORTS OF THINGS. WE’RE IN ORBIT. WE HAVE PRODUCTS THAT ARE
ACTUALLY ORBITING THE EARTH.

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