An eco-responsible fiber for sport based on castor oil, how is this possible?
The use of this fiber is not new. Existing since 1949, polyamide derived from castor oil and therefore its seed has been used in numerous applications since its creation. Polyamide PA11 was invented near the Rilse River, in Normandy just after the Second World War.
Today, we use both PA11 in our socks and some leggings in our collection, and PA10.10, another derivative of the seed, on the rest of our Active products. Although different suppliers provide sourcing seed, then oil and finally fiber and yarn, the main producing countries happen to be India and Brazil. Very often the oil is then processed in Europe to be spun, at our two main suppliers, in France or Italy.
Our products which incorporate these fibers are 100% made in Europe, in France for our socks and in Portugal for our Active outfits. The cultivation of castor oil requires little water and is carried out on semi-arid lands, so it does not compete with agriculture dedicated to feeding our civilization.
This innovative fiber in the world of sport is therefore not recent, but its applications have evolved over the years and developments in uses. Today, the outdoors is calling us, and so that you can make the most of it, we have been developing our products for 4 years by integrating the best technologies on the market.
Technical advantages for sport
This is all well and good, but why does this fiber interest us for sport? For several reasons and that's why we love it so much!
We already note a weight almost 15% lower compared to a classic polyamide (PA6). The PA11 or PA 10.10 which interests us here represents 1.03 g/cm³ compared to 1.13 g/cm³ for PA6.
Its low absorption of liquids due to its dimensional stability provides perfect humidity management (1.9% water absorption over 14 days compared to 9% for PA6).
Added to this is an anti-odor characteristic, the fiber not being synthetic on its base. We therefore find a bacteriostatic fiber which allows you to be comfortable in all conditions; sport, lifestyle or intense activity.
Environmental benefits for the planet
Renewable origin : PA11 is generally made from renewable resources, such as castor oil. Castor oil comes from the seeds of a plant called castor oil, which can be grown every year. In comparison, virgin polyester is typically made from petroleum, a non-renewable resource that takes millions of years to form.
- Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions : The production of virgin polyester from petroleum is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions, which contributes to climate change. Manufacturing PA11 or PA10.10 from castor oil generally emits fewer greenhouse gases, making it a more environmentally friendly option.
- Biodegradability : Under certain conditions, PA11 may be biodegradable, meaning it can break down naturally over time. Virgin polyester, on the other hand, is often very difficult to break down, which can lead to a buildup of plastic waste in the environment. However, we will qualify this point because degrading a wire in a closed and hot natural environment requires industrial processes. Better to recycle the wire for other applications.
- Less reliance on fossil fuels : Using PA11 in place of virgin polyester reduces reliance on fossil materials, helping to conserve limited natural resources.
- Better durability : PA11 tends to be stronger than virgin polyester or other types of polymers, meaning that products made with PA11 generally have a longer lifespan, reducing the need for frequent replacement .
However, it is important to note that environmental impact depends on many factors, including how materials are produced, used and disposed of. Therefore, although castor oil may be more environmentally friendly in many situations, it is essential to consider the entire life cycle of materials to assess their full environmental impact.
We are also working on a global LCA (Life Cycle Analysis) matrix to have this complete cycle.