The carpet to be in every home within 20 years.
Triexta fibre takes a positive step, made from renewably sourced Sorona® polymer that contains 37% corn sugar this new innovation in carpet fibres provides a new level of stain, soil, wear and fade resistance. Also Know as PTT – Polyester.
There are many different brand names and suppliers but here is one for you.
Triexta is the product of DuPont – the same company responsible for the invention of nylon. Triexta — polytrimethylene terephthalate (PTT) — is a polymer comprised of several monomers, including 1,3 propanediol (PDO). It is produced by DuPont under the brand name Sorona.
PTT was first discovered in the early 1940s, however was too costly to produce. After much further research, DuPont was able to considerably reduce the production cost in the 1990s by using biotechnology, which also contributes to triexta’s eco-friendliness.
Because PTT and polyester (polyethylene terephthalate – PET) have the same general chemical composition, PTT was originally defined as a polyester. However, it differs so significantly from polyester that DuPont, along with Mohawk Industries, lobbied to have the differences recognized by approving a new generic name for PTT. In 2009, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission(FTC) officially recognized triexta as a new generic name for PTT, a subclass of polyester.
Basically, that means that the chemical structure of the two fibers is similar enough that triexta could not become an entire new classification of fiber (in the way that polyester or nylon is), but that PTT and PET are different enough that PTT could not simply be lumped in with PET.
According to DuPont, “The FTC based its generic name decision on test results of residential carpets, which demonstrated that triexta significantly outperforms carpets made from polyester in resilience and durability.”
Characteristics of Triexta
There are several reasons why triexta stands out from polyester. The first is that triexta is recognized as being more durable and resilient than conventional polyester. In fact, to test and ultimately prove just how durable triexta is, Mohawk took its brand of triexta –SmartStrand – and created the SmartStrand Challenge. SmartStrand triexta was installed in the rhino enclosure at the Birmingham Zoo for two weeks, after which it was steam cleaned – and returned to its original appearance. Mohawk then took it a step further and installed another piece of SmartStrand in the elephant, camel and rhino habitats at the Dallas Zoo, and wound up with the same result.
The idea, of course, is that if the carpet can stand up to six elephants, averaging 7500 pounds each, then it can certainly stand up to everyday household traffic. Being that the carpet did indeed withstand the challenge, it makes sense that it would perform well even in busy households.
Triexta and polyester differ also in appearance. The appearance of triexta is more similar to nylon than to polyester. Triexta lacks polyester’s high lustre, and more closely resembles nylon’s matte finish. Obviously, it is a matter of personal preference which look you prefer.
As proven in the SmartStrand challenge, triexta is incredibly stain resistant. With simple vacuuming and ordinary hot water extraction, the carpets in the animal enclosures were restored to their original appearance.
The primary reason for triexta’s high level of stain resistance is that the fiber is hydrophobic, meaning that it does not absorb moisture. Triexta has actually been used in the clothing industry longer than it has been used in the carpet industry — in the clothing industry triexta uses the tag-line “dry-fit” to reflect the non-absorbant properties of the fiber.
Yet another advantage to triexta is that it is significantly softer than both polyester and nylon. Its softness is due in part to the fact that it does not have topically-applied chemicals for stain protection. Even the looped berber styles, which can have a tendency to feel rough when made of nylon or olefin, feel soft to the touch and very comfortable underfoot.
One of the most appealing aspects of triexta is that it is predominantly available in an environmentally-friendly version. In attempting to lower the cost of producing PDO, DuPont began using biotechnology based on fermentation of corn glucose. This replaces the use of petroleum in the production of the fiber, up to 37% in DuPont Sorona. As a renewable resource, corn glucose is much more sustainable than petroleum.
Additionally, replacing petroleum with corn glucose means that fewer chemicals are put into the fiber, which in turn means that fewer chemicals will come out of the fiber in the form of VOCs (off-gassing). This could be especially beneficial to those with environmental sensitivities and conditions such as asthma and allergies.
Some statistics from Mohawk regarding Mohawk’s SmartStrand made with DuPont Sorona:
- The production of Sorona requires 30% less energy than the production of an equal amount of nylon
- The production of Sorona emits 63% less greenhouse gas than the production of nylon 6
- The production of seven square yards of Sorona saves the equivalent of one gallon of gasoline
The cost of production of triexta is lower than that of nylon, so triexta, generally speaking, is very competitively priced. It is priced more on par with polyester, although some of the top end lines of triexta can be more expensive.
Triexta, like all fibers, is available in various qualities and price points. However, even the entry-level qualities of triexta feature impressive warranties from the manufacturer, so overall triexta offers good value for the money.
Disadvantages of Triexta
Currently, the biggest drawback to triexta is its lack of history to substantiate manufacturers’ claims of its features. As a new fiber, it doesn’t have the long-standing track record of nylon, and hasn’t really been around long enough to have lived through a full “life-cycle” (10-15 years for an average carpet) so it’s difficult to accurately compare its performance to that of other fibers.
Triexta for the Future
Despite being relatively new in the carpet fiber world, triexta is becoming enormously popular. Provided that the next 10 years or so verify that the fiber can do all that DuPont and Mohawk claim it can, it is definitely foreseeable that triexta, as a soft and durable fiber that is more sustainable than other fiber types, could be the fiber of the future.