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Utilization of recycled polyester nonwovens as sorbent for oil spill cleanups

Viju Subramoniapillai (Department of Textile Technology, PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore, India)
G. Thilagavathi (Department of Textile Technology, PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore, India)

Research Journal of Textile and Apparel

ISSN: 1560-6074

Article publication date: 1 March 2021

Issue publication date: 31 May 2021

96

Abstract

Purpose

The most widely recycled plastic in the world is recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET). To minimize the environmental related issues associated with synthetic fibers, several researchers have explored the potential use of recycled polyester fibers in developing various technical textile products. This study aims to develop needle-punched nonwoven fabrics from recycled polyester fibers and investigate its suitability in oil spill cleanup process.

Design/methodology/approach

According to Box and Behnken factorial design, 15 different needle-punched nonwoven fabrics from recycled polyester fibers were prepared by changing the parameters, namely, needle punch density, needle penetration depth and fabric areal weight. Several featured parameters such as oil sorption, oil retention, oil sorption kinetics, wettability and reusability performance were systematically elucidated.

Findings

The maximum oil sorption of recycled nonwoven polyester is found to be 24.85 g/g and 20.58 g/g for crude oil and vegetable oil, respectively. The oil retention is about 93%–96% in case of crude oil, whereas 87%–91% in case of vegetable oil. Recycled polyester nonwoven possesses good hydrophobic–oleophilic properties with static contact angle of 138° against water, whereas 0° against crude oil and vegetable oil. The reusability test results indicate that recycled polyester nonwoven fabric can be used several times because of its reusability features.

Originality/value

There is no detailed study on the oil sorption features of needle-punched nonwoven fabrics developed from recycled polyester fibers. This study is expected to help in developing fabrics for oil spill cleanups.

Keywords

Citation

Subramoniapillai, V. and Thilagavathi, G. (2021), "Utilization of recycled polyester nonwovens as sorbent for oil spill cleanups", Research Journal of Textile and Apparel, Vol. 25 No. 2, pp. 158-169. https://doi.org/10.1108/RJTA-06-2020-0061

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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