Protein and Sugars—New Fibers?
Michael Jaffe, New Jersey Institute of Technology
Soy protein chemistry has been investigated, including blending with other fiber-forming
polymers to improve processability with environmentally acceptable solvents and increase cost-competitiveness with existing products.
Currently, wet spinning of soy
protein is the norm. We are exploring electrospinning to produce nanofibers, and dry or
melt spinning to define the fiber process-structure-property-performance space available
from this abundant and low cost precursor material. Glucose and other sugars may be viewed as a chemical feedstock to produce new monomers, polymers, and additives for
the next generation of textile and specialty fibers.
Isosorbide offers molecular geometry and chemical functionality compatible with many existing fiber chemistries, including PET and PLLA. Of special interest is the impact of asymmetric reactivity, chirality, and controlled stereochemistry in the design and performance of new materials.