A sustainable slashing industry using biodegradable sizes from modified soy protein to replace petro-based poly(vinyl alcohol)

Yi Zhao, Yuzhu Zhao, Helan Xu, Yiqi Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


Biodegradable sizing agents from triethanolamine (TEA) modified soy protein could substitute poly(vinyl alcohol)(PVA) sizes for high-speed weaving of polyester and polyester/cotton yarns to substantially decrease environmental pollution and impel sustainability of textile industry. Nonbiodegradable PVA sizes are widely used and mainly contribute to high chemical oxygen demand (COD) in textile effluents. It has not been possible to effectively degrade, reuse or replace PVA sizes so far. Soy protein with good biodegradability showed potential as warp sizes in our previous studies. However, soy protein sizes lacked film flexibility and adhesion for required high-speed weaving. Additives with multiple hydroxyl groups, nonlinear molecule, and electric charge could physically modify secondary structure of soy protein and lead to about 23.6% and 43.3% improvement in size adhesion and ability of hair coverage comparing to unmodified soy protein. Industrial weaving results showed TEA-soy protein had relative weaving efficiency 3% and 10% higher than PVA and chemically modified starch sizes on polyester/cotton fabrics, and had relative weaving efficiency similar to PVA on polyester fabrics, although with 3- 6% lower add-on. In addition, TEA-soy sizes had a BOD5/COD ratio of 0.44, much higher than 0.03 for PVA, indicating that TEA-soy sizes were easily biodegradable in activated sludge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2391-2397
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Feb 17 2015


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

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