he modification of polyester is an important item in the research of fibres that have new characteristics and new performances.

This fibre is the most spread among the chemical fibres and it has reached the high maturity. PTT belongs to a class of polymers called aromatic polyesters. However, PTT Polymer is a unique product in that it behaves very differently than other polyesters. The fibre is got through poly condensation of PTA (purified terephthalic acid) and PDO (1, 3 propanediol), which is chemically obtained by the Shell Group and that is biochemically obtained by DuPont. The unique properties of PTT have been known for many years but the polymer has not been commercially available because of the high cost of production of the PDO raw material. Extensive research effort by Shell Chemicals has resulted in a cost-effective process to manufacture PDO. With this breakthrough in processing technology for PDO, PTT are now commercially available for use in carpet fibre, textile fibre, monofilament, film, non-woven fabric, and engineering thermoplastic applications. PTT is a futuristic synthetic fibre with its unique spring-like molecular structure possessing the favourable properties of both polyester and nylon, while having its own stretchiness. It is also readily compatible with natural and synthetic fibres thanks to its unique soft texture.

T

History of PTT fibre
Poly (trimethylene terephthalate) (PTT) was first synthesized and patented in 1941, but it was not produced commercially. PTT was commercialised as a molding material in the late 1990s. Asahi Kasei Fibers began development of PTT fibre in 1996, with production and sale beginning in 1999. Teijin Fibers began developing PTT fibre in 2000. The vast majority of polyester textile fibres are PET. Its sister polymer, poly (butylene terephthalate) (PBT), has a very limited application to textiles. PTT, made by Shell Chemicals and marketed under the trade name ® Corterra , has many characteristics that lend themselves to a variety of products — durable, stain resistance, superior elastic recovery, good colourfastness, uniform dye uptake, luxurious feel, antistatic properties, stain resistance, and easy care.

Description of PTT fibre
PTT is produced by the poly-condensation reaction of PTA (purified terephthalic acid) and PDO (1, 3 propanediol) and has unique properties as compared to the other aromatic

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polyesters, PET (polyethylene terephthalate) and PBT (polybutylene terephthalate).

PTT fibre characteristics
PTT is an advanced polymer that can be spun into fibres. The fibres and yarns have a unique combination of properties including stretch and recovery, softness, bulk, and easy dye. Fabrics produced from PTT fibres and yarns clean easily and have superior durability. As regards to other synthetic fibres, PTT ones are softer, are easier to be dyed, keep vivid colours longer, lose their shape easier and as easier go back to their original shape. They also are better dirty-resistant, are easier to be cleaned and dry quickly. PTT is resistant to strong oxidizing bleaches, such as sodium hypochlorite, even in concentrated form (6 per cent). In fact, it is said to resist bleaching even better than polyester PET. Colour fastness of PTT is superior to polyester and Type 6

nylon and comparable to Type 6, 6 nylon when subjected to a wide range of tests including high concentrations of ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and light and sun fading. PTT is oleophilic, and performs similarly to polyester PET and olefin, and it easily removes oily spots and soils (petroleum, animal, vegetable) using dry solvent spotters and cleaning additives (e.g., propylene glycol). PTT’s hand, while a somewhat subjective evaluation, is achieved by the polymer itself, and is noticeably softer than polyester, and comparable to nylon fibre.

Comparison with different fibre
PTT fibre combines the best properties of nylon and polyester. Whether used in carpet, garments, home furnishings or automotive fabrics, PTT fibres look better longer. Compared with other synthetic fibres like nylon and acrylic, PTT fibres feel softer, dye easier, retain vibrant colours longer, stretch and recover better. More important, PTT fibres resist staining, clean easily and dry quickly.

PTT Tensile strength (Cn/Dtex) Elongation at break (per cent) Initial young’s modulus (Cn/Dtex) Tensile recovery from 20 per cent elongation (per cent) Specific gravity Moisture regain (per cent) Boil shrinkage (per cent) Melting point (° C) Glass transition point (° C) Weathering resistance 3.4 – 3.7 36 – 42 23 88 1.34 0.4 14 230 51 Negligible loss of strength

Polyester 3.7– 4.4 30 – 38 97 29 1.38 0.4 7 254 69 Negligible loss of strength

PBT 3.5 38 23 40 1.34 0.4 15 230 25 Negligible loss of strength

Nylon 6,6 4.1 – 4.5 32 – 44 31 62 1.14 4.5 13 253 76 Moderate loss of strength, yellowing under some conditions Yellowing under some conditions

Yellowing resistance

Negligible yellowing

Negligible yellowing

Negligible yellowing

Comparison of performance of different carpet fibres
Nylon (filament) Fibre strength Appearance retention Stain resistant Soil resistant Cleaning Available colours Piling and fuzzing Resistance to household cleaners
HOME TEXTILE VIEWS / OCTOBER-DECEMBER 2011

Nylon (staple)

Olefin (filament)

PET polyester (staple)

PET polyester (filament)

Triexta PTT (filament)

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Carpet fibre characteristics Resiliency – determined by fibre structure and modifications Abrasion resistance – determined by fibre and density of face fibre – the more tightly packed the yarns, the more resistant to wear Soil and stain resistance/

Wool Good to excellent Good to excellent

Nylon Excellent

Polypropylene olefin Excellent

Triexta PTT Excellent

Polyester Good to excellent Good to excellent

Excellent

Excellent

Excellent

Good to

Good to excellent

Good if only soil and stains are treated promptly

Excellent

Good if only soil and stains are treated promptly

clean ability – determined excellent by colour, texture dyes, fibre structure and modifications Resistance to sunlight – determined by fibre structure & modifications Poor-if protected from ultraviolet rays, degradation does not occur as rapidly Static – determined by fibre structure and modifications Hand feel Builds up in low humidity unless modified Warm, soft

Good-special dyes may be used to inhibit sun damage

Loses strength and deteriorates unless chemically modified to resist sunlight damage Builds up in low humidity but at a lower level than nylon or polyester Waxy, soft

Excellent

Good-may weaken with prolonged exposure Builds up in low humidity unless modified Varies -finer deniers are soft and silky Excellent

Builds up in low humidity unless modified Varies from warm and soft to cold and coarse Fibre may be modified Burns slowly, melts in direct flame; self-extinguishing. Structure may alter what occurs. Celery-like odour

Builds up in low humidity unless modified Warm, soft

Resistance to mildew – determined by fibre structure & modifications Flammability – determined by fibre structure, modification, construction methods, dyes, padding and carpet installation methods

Poor if damp or soiled Burns slowly indirect flame; considered selfextinguishing. Burning hair odour

Excellent

Excellent

Melts at low Burns slowly, temperatures (170Â ° C); melts; some are burns and emits heavy, sooty, waxy smoke. Paraffin wax odour. Pulling a heavy ojbect across the carpet surface can cause enough friction to melt the carpet fibres

Burns slowly, melts; some are

self-extinguishing. self extinguishing. Chemical odour Chemical odour

Environmental benefits of PTT fibre
Producing PTT fibre uses 30 per cent less energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 63 per cent compared to the production of an equal amount of nylon 6. Further, there are no additional chemical treatments used for stain resistance. Less energy, lower emissions, no added chemical treatments. Energy savings is also part of the environmental story with PTT offering a 30 per cent savings over nylon6 and a 40 per cent savings over nylon 6.6.

Applications of PTT fibre
Fabrics made from PTT fibres not only offer easy-care and stretch, but a combination of features that include inherent stain resistance, lasting durability for longer wear, remarkable softness, beautiful fluid drape and rich brilliant colours. There also are benefits for textile manufacturers: PTT fibres dye well at low temperatures, blend well with other fibres, and are less expensive and much easier to work with than spandex.

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PET structure

PTT structure

PPT fibres can be used in apparel as well as home furnishing. In apparel it can be used in casual, swimwear, active wear and innerwear and on the other hand in home furnishing carpets, draperies, sheets and pillow cases, wall coverings and upholstery can be made by PTT fibres. However, PTT fibres are best to manufacture the carpets. Carpets made with PTT fibres offer a breakthrough in the combination of stain resistance and durability. They have nylon-like wear performance without the need for chemical stain treatments and complicated cleaning procedures. Most stains, including mustard, iodine and hot coffee, can be removed with hot water and are dry within a few hours. Moreover, PTT fibre's stain resistance offers an ease of maintenance and reduced need for replacement.

The mantra of ‘Performance PLUS environmental benefits’ is evident for PTT fibre in carpet applications. In today’s competitive environment, beauty is simply not enough. Designers, architects, and facility managers demand more in terms of performance, environment and value when it comes to products. Today’s market demands beauty, performance and sustainable solutions. PTT fibre in commercial carpet applications provides what designers, architects and managers are looking for
By Vasant R Kothari, Assistant Professor, NIFT, Bangalore (Author can be contacted @ www.vasantkothari.com)

Caring for PTT fibre
Carpets made with PTT fibre are permanently stain resistant. Even the toughest stains, such as mustard, ketchup and red wine — are no match for stain resistance that comes from the inside out. And, because this stain resistance will never wash off or wear away, carpets made by PPT fibres look like new for many years.

Conclusion
The PTT fibre is considered to be the most important fibre of the after-polyester period. It is the first significant new material in the textile and carpet industry for some time. Fabrics made with PTT fibres have great appeal in the fast-growing stretch market. It provides manufacturers with a wider range of options for new products than they have now. At this point, PTT does not hold a significant carpet market share; however, promotion by major industry players, such as Mohawk, Shaw and DuPont, may change that. As far as long-term performance is concerned, no other fibre can beat PPT.
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