David MacomberOrganic Chemistry9/23/15dju96@wildcats.unh.edu
A Greener Method to Fabric Dyeing

The purpose of this experiment was to find a more efficient and environmentally-friendly way of dyeing fabric. The hypothosis proposed was that Isopropyl Alcohol could be used as a reusable replacement to water in the process of dying fabric. The results of this experiment were successful; the Isopropyl Alcohol was able to bind the dye to the fabric, and was retrieved from the dye solution through diffusion.

Wash fast acid dyes are commonly used to color wool, feathers and other fabric materials. Only 80% of dye is used in mass clothing production, and these left over acid dyes, when disposed of, (usually mixed with water) can be very toxic to the environment, especially to fish. Some industries have altered their dying techniques to a more effective method using condensed carbon dioxide, to minimize waste and water usage. However, this process can be expensive and time consuming, so it is not widely used.
  • Synthetic Dyes were developed in 1856
  • Originally aided by doixins, toxic heavy metals such as Chrome, Copper, and Zinc, and Formaldehyde
  • It is cheaper for industrial dye factories to dump the leftover water instead of filtering, cleaning and reusing the water
  • Fountain Set Holdings, a dye factory in Dongguan, China, was caught dumping 22,000 tons of dye each day into a nearby river in the Summer of 2006

8.097 grams of dye were mixed with 80 mL of 100% Isopropyl alcohol and stirred on heat. This was not enough to dissolve all of the dye, so another 10 mL of alcohol was added. To test the dye's strength and ability to bond, a piece of fabric was dipped into the solution, and was successfully stained. A distillation device was set up with the dye solution in the heated flask. The solution started bubbling at roughly 45 degrees Celcius, then started distilling at 75 degrees Celcius. The boiling temperature did not rise above 82 degrees Celcius for the duration of the experiment. Heat was applied until all of the Isopropyl alcohol was distilled. Both the leftover dye and distilled Isopropyl Alcohol were placed into seperate containers to be re-used in the future.

The ideal ratio to mix Isopropyl Alcohol and dye is 1 gram of dye per every 9 mL of Alcohol. After distilling, the Isopropyl Alcohol was completely distilled and contamination-free, and is able to be re-used. The leftover dye was dried and extracted, and can also be re-used. The Isopropyl Alcohol maintained it's original max boiling point throughout the experiment.

The results of this experiment supported my Hypothosis. Isopropyl Alcohol can be used as an affective alternative to water in the dying process, and can be fully recovered and re-used after the process is complete. The use of other chemicals may potentially increase the bond strength of the dye, but may not be able to be distilled afterwords.

Green Chemistry Connection:
My topic is connected to green chemistry, for this new method of applying dyes will isolate toxic leftover waste. Industries typically dispose of this leftover toxic dye by diluting it with vast amounts of water, and then releasing this solution into the environment. This toxic dumping is still extremely toxic and harmful to the environment, especially to aqueous organisms, and this new method will allow a much more effective and environmentally friendly way of taking care of this waste without water.

Organic Chemistry Connection:
My topic is connected to organic chemistry, for my method increases the effectiveness of the dye. Isopropyl alcohol will be used as a covalent bonding assistant, aiding in the dying of the fabric, as well as increasing the strength of hydrogen bonds within the dye. By diluting with isopropyl alcohol instead of water, I am not only eliminating the need for water, I am also increasing the effectiveness of the dye.


Golden Yellow MX 104; MSDS [Online]; Pro Chemical and Dye: Fall River, MA, January 20, 2014, Retrieved November 15th, 2015, from http://www.prochemical.com/MaterialSafety/MX/MX104+.pdf

Spencer, J. (2007, August 22). China Pays Steep Price as Textile Exports Boom. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 2, 2015, from http://www.wsj.com/public/article/SB118580938555882301.html

Dale, E. (2008, June 18). Synthetic Dyes: A look at Environmental & Human Risks (S. Yansen, Ed.). Retrieved September 29, 2015, from https://greencotton.wordpress.com/2008/06/18/synthetic-dyes-a-look-at-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/

Crouse, A. (2013, December 4). Gaia Conceptions. Retrieved October 3, 2015, from http://www.gaiaconceptions.com