What is "Polylactic Acid Fiber" - Definition & Explanation
Last Updated on: 10-Jun-2024 (1 month, 4 days ago)
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Polylactic Acid Fiber
Polylactic Acid Fiber (PLA fiber) is a type of biodegradable synthetic fiber used in the textile industry. It is derived from renewable resources such as corn starch or sugarcane, making it an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional petroleum-based fibers. PLA fiber possesses several unique properties that make it suitable for a wide range of textile applications.

The production process of PLA fiber starts with the extraction of glucose from the chosen renewable source. The glucose is then fermented to produce lactic acid, which is further transformed into lactide through a refining process. The lactide is finally polymerized to form the PLA polymer, which can be melt-spun into fibers of various lengths and thicknesses.

PLA fiber offers several advantages in terms of performance and sustainability. Firstly, it is a lightweight fiber with a natural luster and soft hand feel, making it ideal for the production of comfortable and breathable textiles. PLA fiber also has good moisture-wicking properties, allowing it to absorb and release moisture quickly, thereby keeping the wearer dry and comfortable.

In addition to its comfort properties, PLA fiber exhibits excellent dyeability, allowing for vibrant and long-lasting colors in textile products. It can be easily dyed using conventional dyeing methods, and the colors remain stable even after repeated washing. Furthermore, PLA fiber has a high UV resistance, making it suitable for outdoor applications where protection against harmful sun rays is desired.

One of the key advantages of PLA fiber is its biodegradability. Unlike traditional synthetic fibers such as polyester, which can persist in the environment for hundreds of years, PLA fiber is compostable and breaks down into natural compounds under specific conditions. This characteristic makes PLA fiber a sustainable choice for reducing the environmental impact of textile production and waste.

The textile industry has recognized the potential of PLA fiber, and several manufacturers have emerged as leading producers of this innovative material. One prominent manufacturer is NatureWorks LLC, a company that has pioneered the production of PLA fiber and offers various grades and specifications to meet different textile requirements. NatureWorks has invested in research and development to enhance the performance characteristics of PLA fiber and has collaborated with brands and textile mills to promote its use in various applications.

Another major player in the PLA fiber market is Teijin Limited, a Japanese chemical and pharmaceutical company. Teijin produces PLA fiber under the brand name ECO CIRCLE™, emphasizing its commitment to sustainability. They have developed advanced technologies for the efficient production of PLA fiber and actively collaborate with textile manufacturers to incorporate PLA into their product lines.

Other notable users of PLA fiber include apparel brands and manufacturers seeking eco-friendly alternatives for their textile products. Many outdoor apparel companies, in particular, have shown interest in PLA fiber due to its UV resistance and biodegradability. Additionally, PLA fiber is finding applications in various sectors, including automotive interiors, home textiles, and non-woven fabrics.

In conclusion, Polylactic Acid Fiber (PLA fiber) is a biodegradable synthetic fiber derived from renewable resources. It offers excellent comfort, moisture-wicking, dyeability, and UV resistance properties, making it suitable for a wide range of textile applications. Leading manufacturers such as NatureWorks and Teijin are driving the production of PLA fiber, and it is gaining popularity among eco-conscious brands and manufacturers looking for sustainable textile solutions.
Polylactic Acid Fiber
(PLA Fiber) A synthetic substance produced from the fermentation of plant sugars derived primarily from corn, which is then made into a fiber. Lightweight, hypoallergenic, and providing more UV protection than polyester, it uses about half the energy required to manufacture other synthetic polymers and is biodegradable. Downside: growing just one acre of corn uses enough water to run a household dishwasher over 30,000 times. See also "Corn Fiber".

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