The search for a formaldehydefree binder stops here
Roller blinds, plisse window shades and book covers are famous examples of products that need to withstand tearing, breaking and friction without losing their elasticity. To add these qualities to the fabric, textile manufacturers often work with polyurethane binders in their production process. Sadly, these binders come with three important obstacles, as they contain formaldehyde and solvents, and do not qualify for padding applications. The consequences of these problems are serious enough to speed up the development of a binder that solves them all. So that is what we did. In this article, we introduce you to the end-result: EDOLAN MR 01.
The issues with binders as we know them
In most binders, formaldehyde is used as a crosslinker to apply that hard and resistant coating that is needed for many textile applications. Unfortunately, formaldehyde is toxic and carcinogenic, two features that do not contribute to a green and safe production process or end-product. Second, binders contain solvents (around 5%), that are used as a carrier during the manufacturing process but end up in the environment through the air or through waste water. Third, the polyurethane dispersions that form the basis of binders do not do well in padding applications, as they cause the coating to dry out on the rollers. This third problem forces textile manufacturers to look for products to mitigate this drying effect, or to even switch application methods. Both fixes are time and energy consuming, meaning they only displace the problem.
Solving the problems
The issues discussed above have far-reaching consequences for textile plants, as brands, retailers and end-users demand effective, low-cost and eco-friendly products that are produced in an equally eco-friendly production process. Apart from that, manufacturers no longer want to use products that contain formaldehyde and solvents, because of their increasing environmental awareness and focus on safety. This is why they search for more eco-friendly alternatives that are effective, easy in use and safe.
With these requirements in mind, we started the development of a new binder. We took our previous binder EDOLAN MR as a starting point and studied the behaviour of the substances after taking out the formaldehyde and the solvents. Based on this information, we managed to replace both elements with eco-friendly alternatives.
What can you expect from EDOLAN MR 01?
Our new binder is formaldehyde and solvent free, but also deals with the application issue we mentioned earlier. This makes EDOLAN MR 01 suitable for padding application, solving the third and last big issue of binders as we know them. A good start, but what about performance? EDOLAN MR 01 shows a decrease in hardness of only one percent after hydrolysis, meaning it helps producing hard and durable coatings that withstand high temperatures and humidity. Thanks to the hydrolysis resistance, textiles treated with EDOLAN MR 01 can be used for technical applications and outdoor products like tents, but also for products used in moist places, like bathrooms. Apart from the hardness test, we tested the EDOLAN MR 01 for wet and dry rub fastness, tensile and tear strength, and block resistance (at 70 degrees and for 3 and 24 hours). As it turns out, it either matched or exceeded the qualities of its predecessor EDOLAN MR and competitive products.
Compatibility of EDOLAN MR 01
We are chemists, so we are always curious about the way chemicals behave and interact in formulations. Apart from its eco-friendliness and performance, EDOLAN MR 01 is highly compatible with a range of thickeners and other binders. Thanks to this compatibility, textile manufacturers can use a combination of products that strengthen the qualities of EDOLAN MR 01 or add new features, such as gloss. This makes EDOLAN MR 01 the perfect alternative to binders that contain formaldehyde and solvents, as it adds more to the production process than eco-friendliness. For us it is a huge step forward, and we are confident it will be for our customers too.