Look Around Lubbock: TTU indigo dyeing project

Look Around Lubbock: TTU indigo dyeing project

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, Texas is already the best in the nation at growing cotton, producing roughly one-third of the U.S. cotton crop. Through the Walmart’s U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund, innovation projects are underway all of the country to rewire how we make everything from blue jeans to medical devices. Researchers at Texas Tech is changing how we dye blue jeans to bring the dying practice back onshore, make it safer, more cost-effective and efficient.

The Texas Tech project’s main objective focuses on making the indigo dyeing process more sustainable by saving a tremendous amount of water and technology through a unique dyeing of cotton yarns. Current dyeing processes require large amounts of time and space, use large amounts of sulfur-reducing compounds.

As pioneers in fiber technology and biopolymer research, Dr. Dean Ethridge and his team at Texas Tech are creating an improved dye, eliminating the use of sulfur compounds and shrinking water and energy requirements by as much as 90 percent. In fact, companies such as Wrangler and Lee have already secured interest in this new innovation.

With a goal of making denim-dyeing more cost-efficient and environmentally friendly, these researchers are hoping to stamp Made in the USA on more pairs of blue jeans.

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