While the fastness properties of synthetic dyes are essential to their commercial utility, the need to avoid harming human health and the environment is an important requirement in the commercial use of technically viable synthetic dyes and their auxiliary chemicals.
Nanostructured polymers self-organize at the (supra)molecular level. In the melt or solid state, such materials include block and graft copolymers, which behave as two or more chemically coupled homopolymers and, if sufficiently incompatible, order into the same nanoscale structures as surfactants.
The industry’s challenge is to adopt more water-friendly technologies to dye cotton and polyester, the two most mass marketed textiles. So what can companies do to mitigate the effects of this timeless, yet toxic, dyeing process?