Wal-Mart funds research to improve denim dyeing method

Wal-Mart Foundation Funds Research that Could Improve Denim Dyeing Method

Texas Tech’s Fiber and Biopolymer Research Institute was awarded the $470,000 grant.

Texas Tech University’s Fiber and Biopolymer Research Institute announced today (Aug. 14) that a research project was awarded more than $470,000 in funding by the Wal-Mart Foundation.

The study, titled “Foam Indigo Dyeing of Cotton Yarns: Machine Design and Process Control,” received a grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation, based in Bentonville, Arkansas, of $472,564.13.

According to the Fiber and Biopolymer Research Institute (FBRI) Managing Director Dean Ethridge, the project is aimed at reducing the amount of water, contaminants, time, labor, floor space and expense needed to apply indigo dye to denim yarns.

The Fiber and Biopolymer Institute’s research team is attempting to determine machine design parameters and process controls necessary for the foam application of pre-reduced indigo on yarns. By doing so, it could provide a more cost-efficient and ecologically sound method of dyeing denim.

“Wal-Mart has long been a mainstay of the retail sector in this region of Texas, and cotton has long been ‘king’ here,” Ethridge said. “Now the Wal-Mart Foundation is enabling crucial developmental research into one of the most dominant cotton textile products in the world – indigo dyed denim.

“Success in this project would reduce the water used to indigo dye denim by more than 90 percent. It would introduce a new paradigm for indigo dyeing that would enable drastic reductions in costs and drastic improvements in environmental impacts. Without a doubt, it would be among the greatest legacies of Texas Tech University’s Fiber and Biopolymer Research Institute.”