In Finland, researchers at Aalto University have developed a natural wax coating that make garments made from cellulose fibers breathable and water resistant, similar to incumbent, but less sustainable fibers.
The coating uses cationic starch, instead of traditional polylysine, to help the wax adhere to cellulose.
“Polylysine is very expensive so in our current study, it’s been substituted with a much cheaper, cationic starch that’s already commercially available,” says Aalto University Ph.D. student Nina Forsman.
The coating can be applied to the textile by dipping, spraying or brushing onto the surface of the textile. At industrial scale, it could be applied at the same time as pigmentation, cutting down at process steps. However, the coating does break down in detergent, so the team recommends it be used with infrequently washed items such as jackets