New dissoluble clothing takes birth

The machine has a plastic syringe to heat and extract droplets of the liquid gelatin mixture.
Image of 'clothes' used for representational purposes only
Image of 'clothes' used for representational purposes only

A new fashion in textiles is over the horizon. It is a textile derived from gelatin, which can be dissolved after the garment in the form of a shirt or trousers — or any form of garment — is worn until the wearer is bored of it. It can then be recycled to make another form of clothing with a colour of choice, and which the wearer is comfortable with, until boredom sets in once more, and is again recycled to create another type of clothing.

This is the outcome of a research at ATLAS Institute at the CU Boulder, where researchers have developed a machine that can spin textile fibres made of materials sourced from gelatin. The textile has “biofibres” that are somewhat like flax fibre that can dissolve in hot water within an hour. The machine they have developed can easily fit on a desk and can be built for less than Rs 50,000, and promises to encourage designers to experiment making their own biofibres.

Once the textile is dissolved, it is passed through the machine. The machine has a plastic syringe to heat and extract droplets of the liquid gelatin mixture. It has two sets of rollers which tug on the gelatin and stretch it out into long fibres passing through liquid baths in which bio-based dyes or other additives can be added to the material. A little extract from fruit called genipin can also be added to make the fibres stronger. The freshly derived recycled fibres then can be sewn up into a new dress. The new tech is a double boon: It avoids clothes ending up in landfills, and also uses animal bones thrown away by meat sellers — the source of gelatin.

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