Naturally Coloured Silk

Uttu-Textiles.com // 1st November 2014 // Issam Yousef

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Fig (1): Coloured silk created by the IMRE

Naturally coloured silk first created by the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) in Singapore.

The process depends on incorporating the dyes directly into the silk fibroin by feeding the silkworm a mixture of dyes during the last 4 days of their life cycle as worms. Then the colourful silkworm will spin a colourful silk yarns a cocoons.  the dye molecules are incorporated in the fibroin inside the silk glands.

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Fig (2): Feeding the silkworm a mixture of dyes during the last 4 days of life as worms

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Fig (3) coloured silk under the microscope

Advantages

The advantages of these techniques can be seen on many levels. The Obvious level, is the impact on nature as this method of colouration reduces the use of water and eliminates the use of harsh chemicals that are usually used in the dying process. On business level it reduces the number of production levels.  On the application level it might expand to medical and other applications as it might be designed to naturally have anti-bacterial materials or other functional substances.

References

http://www.imre.a-star.edu.sg/images/ResearchFactsheets/Factsheet%20-%20Functional%20Silk%20-%20190410.pdf

http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/journal/silkworms-spin-coloured-silk-.htm

http://nopr.niscair.res.in/bitstream/123456789/23285/1/IJFTR%2027(4)%20397-407.pdf

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