"Green" Tie-Dye Lab

An Trinh and Michael Cochran-Boucher working with Bishop Guertin High School, Nashua, NH
University of New Hampshire, Manchester
Fall 2009, Organic Chemistry


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Discussion:


"Green Chemistry" is misnamed in our opinion. It should be "Common Sense Chemistry". Our primary question to our audience is "How 'green' is any tie-dyed t-shirt that is never worn?" In lab research it was determined that Kool Aid™ and other related drink products like Ocean Spay™ dye wool very well and be safe non-toxic alternatives to other dye products. We figured that if you could drink the stuff, the impact on the environment should be limited. The science behind the actual dyeing is simple. Hair absorbs dye extremely well. We then assumed that we would simply do the same with a white t-shirt. We were wrong. It is very difficult for a dye to penetrate a very tightly knit cellulose fiber, primarily due to the structure of the plant protein. Our result was numerous pale pink cloth samples, regardless of the color of drink powder used. Traditionally, indigo blue is the big ticket "green" dye. Natural indigo has more recently been replaced by E. coli--produced indigo and unfortunately 100 of thousands of pounds of caustic indigo dye to dye denim. If the bacteria dyes become commonly available and prove to be both safe and effective for public, these bacteria produced dyes would receive our vote for their ability to produce a vibrant dye product with minimal environmental impact. Farming for dyeing purposes is not "green", with regard to use of natural resources, etc. So vegetable-based dyes are NOT inherently "green". We found that the most effective "green" tie-dye method we could perform was a RIT™ dye method or a more recently updated part of the site, Tulip™ dye method using hair dye bottle applicators. The hair bottle applicators allowed for strict "atom economy" (i.e. not wasting dye and not having buckets of waste products). The atom economy is the main "green" focus of our experiment. The limited dye usage and three thirty-second microwave treatments in order to set the dye into the shirt permanently was employed with great success. When these techniques were performed in the lab, the result was a rinse water that was surprisingly clear. Rather than explaining all of the research that was preformed on dyeing and Green Chemistry, a few key sites are linked below, as well as our atom economy results. Please note, the principles used in this presentation are not "new", but we hope to have placed a fresh spin on the subject of tie dyeing. Special thanks to those people who have put so much time and passion into the art of hand dyeing fabrics and have brought about a greater awareness of the importance and benefits of using and wasting less dye by placing their findings on the web.

Twelve Principles of Green Chemistry




General Source references and Interesting Tie Dye Information Links:


Very nice article on "the history of dye":

thefutureofthings.com/column/1002/19th-century

Great site for common sense tie-dye advice:

http://www.pburch.net/dyeing/FAQ/rit-tie-dye.shtml

Site that gave us the idea for the lab with drink products:

http://www.scoutingweb.com/ScoutingWeb/SubPages/KoolAid.htm

The industry's idea of organic dyes:

http://www.organicdye.com/?gclid=CKr23dXoiJ4CFQRM5QodEjWEqg

This is a great site for dyeing. The site has a very global perspective. Visit:

http://tilz.tearfund.org/Publication/footsteps+21-30/footsteps+21/Home-made+plant+dyes.html

Indigo dye made simple, as well as the best, most accessible, fastest setting dyes that we could find. We say, "If it stays in the fabric for life, is safe to the wearer, and only the dye 'needed' is applied to the fabric; that may trump any other process in terms of true 'green' potential".

http://www.jacquardproducts.com/products/dyes/indigo/

Basic tie dye instruction:

www.ehow.com/how-does_4573953_tiedye-work.html



Result:

Dye Products used (Atom Economy):

Table 1: Total liters used in each color. Each color was mixed from a small RIT™ Dye Bottle.

Color
Amount remaining (L)
Amount used (L)
Denim
2
4
Green
2
4
Scarlet
1
5
Purple
1.75
4.25
Yellow
0
6

Note: 150 total shirts were dyed. Approximately 200 shirts would have consumed all of the dye made from just 10 OUNCES RIT™ POWDERED DYE!!!!!! The extra dye will be incorporated into next years lab (of course).




Materials and Methods:

An and Micheal's unassuming Lab Report:


Plan A

Plan A to was test an alternative dyeing method commonly used in elementary school, Boy and Girl Scouts and other group organizations, in order to evaluate the effect of mordants on colorfastness and ease of use. Other considerations are dye and drying temperature. At the end, we focused on the mordants and powdered drink dyes.

NOTE: Plan A was in fact successful. We worked with several classes at Bishop Guertin High School. We did the lab tests and ruled out powdered drink mixes as dyes. Then the classes performed the RIT™ tie dye lab in class on the student provided t-shirts. Terrific experience!!!!!


MSDS sheet should be provided on chemicals whenever possible.

Common more caustic mordants:
Aluminum sulfate, copper sulfate, iron sulfate, potassium, dichromate.
Common less caustic mordants:
Salt (NaCl), tannins, white vinegar, wood and soda ash (sodium carbonate).

http://housebarra.com/EP/ep03/03dyes.html


Summary

We evaluated those mordants above in bold according to the following green principles: whether the mordants were toxic, available and functional. We used roughly 2-inch patches of t-shirt cotton cloth in order to minimize dye usage. We evaluated results of the selected mordants with cold water and eight different powdered drink mixes.

Our list for Lab:

· Four mordants.

· Eight varied powdered drink mixes.

· 2 additional gallons of white vinegar.

· Clothes line and clips, for drying.

· 50 2” squares of cotton (T- Shirt grade)

· 13 200ml beakers

· Mixing rods

· Tongs






Plan B

Plan B was to make a video of ourselves in the UNHM Chem lab utilizing the following lab protocol.




LAB PROCEDURES (INSTRUCTOR NOTES)
1. PULL UP AN INCH OF FABRIC FROM T-SHIRT AND CUT STRAIGHT (TAKE CARE NOT TO CUT ONE'S FINGERS) (32 PIECES= 4 PIECES X 8 DYES) PER STUDENT.
2. IT WAS DETERMINED THAT IT TAKES ABOUT 5Ml PER PIECE OF FABRIC.
3. MIX 2 GRAMS OF SALT INTO 100 ml DISTILLED WATER IN BEAKER.
4. POUR STRAIGHT WHITE VINEGAR INTO BEAKER.
5. MIX COPPER SULFIDE.8715 GRAMS INTO 35 ml DISTILLED WATER TO MAKE A 1M SOLUTION.

6. PREPARE 8 DRINK MIXES (2GRAMS POWDER TO 50 ml OF WHITE VINEGAR).


LAB PROCEDURE (STUDENT NOTES)

1. DIP 1 PIECE OF FABRIC INTO EACH OF FOUR MORDANTS FOLLOWED BY A DISTILLED WATER CONTROL.
2. PLACE ON LABELED PLATES AND PLACE IN HOOD TO DRY
3. DIP ABOVE 4 FABRIC SWATCHES INTO ASSIGNED DYE.
4. REPLACE ON LABELED PLATES AND PLACE IN HOOD TO DRY.
5. RINSE EACH DRIED FABRIC WITH COLD TAP WATER.
6. COMPARE AND RECORD FABRIC COLOR FROM EACH MORDANT ON A ONE TO TEN SCALE.
7. RANK PROCESSES IN ORDER OF SUCCESS.

References;

· http://tilz.tearfund.org/Publications/Footsteps+21-30/Footsteps+21/Home-made+plant+dyes.htm
· http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tannin
· http://housebarra.com/EP/ep03/03dyes.html
· http://nopr.niscair.res.in/bitstream




Plan C (also known as An and Michael’s amazing slide show)

We proposed the use the Power Point slides in order to teach/discuss in the classroom in the event that an in lab experiment was not practical, but we were able to get class time.






Safety:

  • The use of gloves, eye protection and great care should be employed, to insure that the only thing that gets dyed are the t-shirts.

  • Boxes lined with news paper were used to contain any dye spillage from the hair bottle applicators.

  • The use of a funnel was a key ingredient in the reduction of spillage while transferring dye to the hair bottle applicators.

  • EXTREME care must be used when cooking the dyes.

  • IN FACT, we recommend that only the instructors themselves work in preparing the dye products when working in a classroom environment.





Photo Album:



PICTURES FROM LAB AND CLASSROOM AT B.G. High School



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Miscellaneous drink-dyes in Lab.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Dyed cloth on lunch trays.

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Students, An and Michael in the class taking part in the initial dye comparisons.


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Supplies for the in-lab experiment at B.G. xxxxxxx Our method of dye storage, CRITICAL for future use.



MCB'S and Crew's "Home" Tie Dye Project

Paper_Towel_RESIZED.jpg Blue_Yellow_Shirt_RESIZED.jpg Daughter_Blue_Yellow_RESIZED.jpg

Even the catch cloth can be beautiful! xxxxxxxxxxFinished product!xxxxx Work in progress utilizing applicator and Tulip™ Dye!


Note: all pictures on main site page taken by Michael C. Boucher or by (B.G. instructor) Mary Daly.






VISIT !!!! RIT™ DYE WEBSITE FOR: MSDS SHEET AND TIE-DYE METHODS:

THE RIT™ DYE WEB-SITE IS ABSOLUTELY FIRST RATE. ALL THE INFORMATION THAT ONE NEEDS TO TIE DYE LIKE A PRO IS HELD WITHIN THESE PAGES.


MSDS SHEETS:
RIT Dye MSDS Sheets
BASICS OF TIE-DYE:
RIT Dye Instruction Pages
BASIC PATTERNS:
RIT Dye Tie Dye Patterns





Alternative Products:


Various other Dye and Mordant Combinations

Mordant dyes are dyes that require the material being dyed to first be treated with a mineral salt mordant such as aluminum oxide, tin, chrome, sodium chloride (table salt), or the most commonly used ancient mordant, animal urine. Preparations of indigo dye, by some recipes, require that the indigo seeds be soaked in horse urine for at least six weeks in order to get an effective agent.


Tulip™ Dyes are available nationwide and here at Michael's Craft Supply. These dyes already have a soda ash component added in, i.e. dye and mordant together from the start. These dyes conform to the Non-Toxic standard USTM-D-4236, which is a voluntary toxic screening program. We feel that the lack of toxicity demonstrated in the Tulip™ dyes align well with the principles of Green Chemistry.

Where to go for Tulip™ dyes:
Michael's Crafts

Tulip™ MSDS Sheet:
MSDS Sheet for Tulip Dyes

Table of natural dyes:

Kermes, Cochineal and Lac (red)

Henna (orange, orange-brown)

Sumac (yellow, yellow-brown)

Pomegranate (yellow)

Turnsole (blue)

Persian Berries and Walnuts (brown)

Saffron , Weld, Dyer's Broom (yellow)

Madder (purple red)

Alkanet (red)

Woad (blue)

Sunt Berry (blue)

Oak Gall (black)

Mordant Dyes






Mary Daly's (Our host Chemistry teacher at BG High) Student Lab Assignment:







THANK YOU FOR VISITING OUR WIKI!


An Trinh
trinhdan555@yahoo.com


Micheal Cochran-Boucher
Cochran-Boucher@Comcast.net

Where to go from here!!!

The key to our "GREEN" success was the use of a specific application devices. The use of a spray bottle and stencils may also work. The use of the Jauquard's dyes or possibly Tulip dyes would be very exciting, email us with results as a table and we may be able to post it. Finally, making use of better tie dye techniques may be a good direction to go as well because, remember:

The only "GREEN" tie dye clothing is that which is worn by you, so make it look good!!!!!