The fibre production phase is important in view of sustainability, but in many cases the product-use phase is an even more important consideration.
Is the product consuming a lot of energy during use, or is the product saving energy?
Just to mention a couple of examples out of the many applications of man-made fibres:
- The greatest application of fibres is in textiles and several studies on the energy use during a garment lifecycle have shown that consumer use (laundering, ironing) was the predominant factor accounting for a multiple of the lifecycle energy compared to all stages of manufacturing. In general man-made fibres can be laundered at low temperatures, with large energy savings.
- Man-made fibres reinforcement of composites allows substantial weight savings in transportation like aircrafts and cars. We are just at the beginning and further penetration of composites in aircrafts and cars will be key to dramatic energy saving. Aramid fibres are applied in car tyres reducing rolling resistance, resulting in fuel saving during a tyre life time.
Man-made fibres developments do not only focus on the sustainability of the production processes, but also the sustainability of the product-use phase is considered as it may have a serious impact on the sustainability of the complete product lifecycle.