American researchers make digital denim fabric
Researchers reported in the Journal of Imaging, Science and Technology that some styles of jeans were easier to reproduce using inkjet printing than others, and some characteristics, like color, were more easily reproduced. .
They expect digital printing to be a viable method of making new denim products in the future, with less waste.
Researchers at North Carolina State University in the United States have successfully inked cotton fabric to create a digital denim fabric that looks like six different styles of jeans. Samples prepared using a computer and printer would on average match denim made using traditional labor-intensive methods well.
Senior author Ming Wang, a former graduate student, told a media outlet that Wang’s high-resolution scanner was used to scan a very high-resolution image of the jeans samples. Then it was transferred to a computer file which could contain the color and transparency information.
Then a pretreated fabric was chosen which has the same weight and texture as the traditional jeans samples. The more environmentally friendly latex printer was used. Six different types of denim which have different washing effects were chosen. It has been discovered that digital printing can reproduce all of these effects.
Besides color, the researchers also assessed the quality of the line, texture, lightness, and overall suitability. What they found is that it is very difficult to get the quality and texture of the line. The reason could be that traditional dye has high ink penetration. But for digital printing, it’s about printing on the surface of the fabric and not penetrating too much into the fabric. It might cause the difference in line quality and texture.
Study co-author Lisa Chapman, associate professor of textile and apparel technology and management at the university, said that while there is a steep enough learning curve for digital printing , there are also advantages with reduced power consumption, chemicals and water waste when we compare digital printing to screen printing.
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