Carpet made from Corn

Discussion in 'Carpet Q&A' started by suprdewey, Feb 16, 2008.

  1. Elmer Fudd

    Elmer Fudd Administwative Asst. Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

  2. Curt Durand

    Curt Durand Resting In Peace Charter Member I Support TFP Published

    I keep notes on things I find when Googling. Here's some of the Sorona/Corterra notes I have concerning what it chemically is.

    Dupont = Sorona 3GT or Shell = Corterra

    Both are PTT ((poly)propylene terephthalate) and are made by the melt polycondensation of PDO with either terephthalic acid or dimethyl terephthalate. It is also known as 3GT in the POLYESTER industry, with G and T standing for glycol and terephthalate, respectively. The number preceding G stands for the number of methylene units in the glycol moiety.

    Associate Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering Douglas C. Cameron has worked dilligently engineering the metabolic pathway of 1-3 propanediol, an ingredient in the production of 3GT. 3GT is a form of polyester that combines the best qualities of nylon and PET (polyethylene terephthalate). Instead of coal, air and water, this fiber will be generated by engineered organisms.

    DuPont and Genencor International had a joint agreement to develop a biological process for making 1,3-propanediol. The new technology made feasible the production of 1,3-propanediol at a cost approaching that of ethylene glycol, the monomer used to produce PET. The 3GT POLYESTER can be produced in existing DACRON® POLYESTER fiber production facilities with only minor modifications, and in planned new nylon fiber facilities.

    The modification of POLYESTER is an important item in the research of fibers that have new characteristics and new performances. This fiber is the most spread among the chemical fibers and it has reached a high maturity, so it must differentiate, extend the range of its applications, increase its margins.

    There was recently a big increase in interest for the Corterra fiber (the mark of the Royal Dutch-Shell Group) and in general for those fibers marked as PTT (polytrimethylene terephthalate).

    The fiber is got through polycondensation of PTA (purified terephthalic acid) and PDO (1,3 propanediol), which is chemically obtained by the Shell group and that is biochemically obtained by DuPont.

    The PTT fiber is considered to be the most important fiber of the after-POLYESTER period, and Shell plans to reach a production well over one million tons.

    POLYESTER fibers based on polyethylene terephthalate (PET) have been around for decades

    Polyester Derived from Glucose - Genencor International and DuPont -
    Genencor International have achieved a milestone on the path to manufacturing a critical component for a high performance POLYESTER from glucose, a renewable raw material. Genencor and DuPont scientists have successfully combined enzymes from two different microorganisms into one production strain. In so doing, they achieved greater than a five hundred-fold improvement in productivity. The final goal is now in sight--using fermentation technology to manufacture this ingredient for performance POLYESTER.

    Once commercialized by DuPont in the next few years, the patented technology will represent a breakthrough in "green chemistry", say the companies. The technology is a bioprocess that creates 1,3 propanediol (3G or PDO), a monomer precursor to the 3GT POLYESTER. The 3GT POLYESTER has the stretch-recovery properties that are substantially superior to other commercial polyesters.
  3. David Hunt

    David Hunt Charter Member Senior Member Published

    Sounds like polyester...

    My favorite part is at the end,
  4. Unregistered

    Unregistered Guest

    Dude, Hope all is well. One is a 3gt Dupont Polyester and the other is a PTT (Corterra) Polyester. The 3GT has an extra molecule and is chemically different from PTT It has a kink making it more wear resistant. From wear test, and stain resitance, the Dupont product is better than the PTT. Hot water will take out most stains, Mohawk industries reccomends a little cleaner and hot water if you have an acid or oil stain.

    My personal belief is that the stainmaster and weardated nylons will wear better but for the money, if you want a great carpet on a budget I feel the Dupon sorona is better especialy for active familys. Will it wear if you have heavy traffic i think it will probably matt, But a tactesse carpet will wear faster than an extra life stainmaster nylon. I would buy a Dupont sorona piece before buying an anso nylon especially if I had kids and was worried about stains. If I get an old couple I sell them a stainmaster or weardated piece a young couple I show more Dupont sorona pieces. But thats Just Me.
  5. rusty baker

    rusty baker Well-Known Member

    I still have a question that I have asked before. Will dogs eat the carpet? Some seam tapes in the 70's and 80's used corn-based adhesives. Dogs were well known to dig a hole to get to it because it smelled like dog food.
  6. Unregistered

    Unregistered Guest

    Hmm I have had customers with that problem not with Sorona but with another carpet. So Folks Rusty has found another benefit to sorona dogs eating carpet meaning more carpet jobs and repairs being sold.

    Rusty to be perfectly honest I have no idea. I dont think it is an issue. The polymer can be derived from corn and is made right here in Tennessee, BUY AMERICAN! BUY CARPET! However we were running a special when I worked in Michigan that we would clean the carpet you bought for free. This coupon was used by a customer real quick when their dog got sick on the carpet. Pet stains are one that most manufacturers do not warranty. My father went out to clean the carpet and his equipment failed him. He still got the carpet clean and said it looked great, like a very nice higher end piece the piece they got was claim to fame the low end twist in the sorona line. I believe in this carpet very much. I feel if you over sell it you will have problems much like we did when stainmaster first came out and customers threw away their vaccums.

    Keep on Keeping on Rusty.
  7. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    Guest, please log in. At the very least, fill in your name.
  8. Sorry,

    Didnt realize that I wasnt logged in
  9. The guys from Mohawk claim it is different and they are awaiting what the different classification will be. Currently it is classified as a polyester, when the new classification opens that will change. I am told that BASF once took a product that was classified as a polyester and got it reclassified as a nylon. This Sorona is ground breaking stuff, as a store you either have to embrace it or dog it. From a consumer, it cleans well it looks good down, it has great value. Will it wear as good as a stainmaster or weardated 6,6 nylon? No i dont think it will. Does it clean up great and does it wear better than a nylon? Yes it does. I have sold this product for 4 years 0 claims. Could you cause a claim and over sell it? We did that with Stainmaster when it first came out. So yeah we could mess up a good thing.
  10. rusty baker

    rusty baker Well-Known Member

    My customers become my friends. I don't want them to buy a product that is going to fail.So even tho i don't sell products, I steer them away from anything I don't trust. Polyester is one of those things. Polyester has a very bad track record.
  11. Thats Very wise my friend. I too try to make friend everywhere I go. I feel its easier to make friends and be honest about everything than try to get one over on them. I am not opposed to polyester, so I may be more lax than you. However what type of a nylon carpet could you buy for 8-10 sq yd and make money turning around and selling it? If you placed a nylon next to a polyester that costs 8-10 sq yard what is the better buy?

    What if the color the customer wants is only found in polyesters? What if their concerns are cleanability and not wearability? The way I think about it is if we only want to cater to the upper and middle class than yeah sell only weardated sell only stainmaster nylons they are the best. but is a 25 oz stainmaster better than a 40 oz polyester? Will it clean better? will it wear better? What if the customer is looking for fire engin red?

    Bottom Line is this. I look at sorona as a carpet like a type 6 nylon. will it wear as good as stainmaster no it will outlast your basic PET Polyester. It is very green very good for the environment. It is relativiely affordable product that I think works very well in middle income busy familiy homes. If you start out honest and sell it honestly I think your claim rate will drop tremendously. With that Being said. . . you still have to sell the product.

    Keep on Keeping on

  12. Mark in Tulsa

    Mark in Tulsa Pro Member

    When it first came out, they were not putting polyester on the labels. I believe it was the FCC that stepped in and made them start putting it on. I forget when it was, but all samples where suppose to be relabeled.

    It's a nice improvement from the old poly, but I would still rather sell them a Stainmaster, that repels soiling and staining, while being much better at wear.
  13. Mark in Tulsa

    Mark in Tulsa Pro Member

    Most of the Extra life Stainmaster is Tactess. Why would you say Tactess doesn't ear as well.
  14. Peter Kodner

    Peter Kodner Inspector Floors Charter Member Senior Member

    Some info that may help in understanding PTT versus PEt as well as Sorona vs. Comforter

    the polymer itself was first made in 1941. the basic building block to make the monomer was PDO (1,3-propanediol) was prohibitively expensive to make the fiber viable at the time. In the early to mid 90s, Shell found an economical means of making the PDO chemically and Corterra was introduced. The difference in Sorona is the PDO is create by distilling a sugar monomer chain form corn sugar in lieu of the chemical basis Corterra uses.

    As this is only one component of the polymer, the renewable content varies from 20% to 37% according to DuPont (or 18%-28% reported by sources other than DuPont). Considering it it now technically and economically feasible to recycle carpet face fiber 100%, i.e. complete re-polymerization, which is greener? A closed loop program is deemed by all certifying bodies as the most green, predicated on it taking the same or less energy (carbon footprint) to do so than making virgin material.

    The kink you mention is a trait of the polymer chain and not anything DuPont has found as an improvement to the original PTT formulation. Performance differences you are citing between the two PTT fibers is the result of denier, yarn system configuration or carpet specification, not fiber.

    BTW: Mark from Tulsa: good to see you back. You haven't posted for a long time!
  15. Ben

    Ben Pro Member

    Just because a product claims that it is 100% recyclable, does that mean that it is being recycled when it's useful life has passed? Who will manage delivery of used carpet back to Georgia to be turned back into carpet. I agree that it is great in theory but it is not a practical concept at this time.

    I am a strong supporter of Smartstrand/Sorona fiber category. From a texture retention, stain resistance, strictly performance point of view it is superior to nylon- regardless of brand. It is great stuff!
  16. Peter Kodner

    Peter Kodner Inspector Floors Charter Member Senior Member

    Ben, recover systems have been in place for over 20 years. My company in Chicago had a collection point for DuPont. It was their first foray into recycling so it was aimed for commercial but part of our agreement was we would accept any carpet, residential or commercial, and from any source. The "concept" has a proven track record.

    Regarding your support of Sorona, more power to you. I just have not seen the proof yet of your contentions.
  17. Ben

    Ben Pro Member

    I would love to see some written proof from Shaw of what percentage of their "green" carpets actually get recycled. My guess is that it is way less than 1% and that they will not give anyone anything in writing. Their green story is the biggest greenwashing in the entire industry and I think consumers are too savvy for their shenanigans. It's their kind of marketing that has made consumers suspicious of any green claims.

    I have an aluminum can in my car right now, is it a green product just because I can choose to recycle it?

    If someone really wants a green carpet there are options that are made entirely from post-consumer recycled food grade plastic bottles. It doesn't get any greener than that. Smartstrand is a greener option than nylon. It is partially sourced from corn. Everything has it's pros and cons, and I think Smartstrand's biggest assets are in it's performance and softness. It is just a bonus that it is made from 1/3 corn based polymer that reduces oil needs. It is way greener than nylon 6. Shaw is trying to tell us that nylon 6, a product that has been around forever is all of a sudden green. Give me a break, everyone has had their hands on nylon 6 and no one has made such outlandish claims- this is greenwashing plain and simple!
  18. Ken

    Ken Pro Member

  19. Peter Kodner

    Peter Kodner Inspector Floors Charter Member Senior Member

    Before we get too heated on this debate, I want to clarify my position.
    Finding organic materials to make fiber suitable for carpet manufacturer is a wonderful idea and I am all for pursuing this end. What I am objecting to is the marketing hype that is surrounding this specific product. Also, Ben, they are not near 33% organic based yet.

    If this product does in fact perform as advertised, over the long haul, I will be the first to eat crow in public. Until then, I stand by position that Sorona is PTT, a form of polyester (a quick Google will confirm the scientific community states this, I did not originate this fact ) and not a new type of fiber. The polymer itself has been around for quite a long time although fairly recently it was engineered to be made partially with a corn based component. Prior to that, Shell had been extruding PTT since the early 90s.

    Ben, why have you singled out Shaw to vent your spleen? C&A was the first to make recycling claims (and how many bird houses, snow fence slats and parking lots bumpers does the world need?). Interface and DuPont followed up soon after (the bulk of the DuPont recovered nylon was used to mold under hood parts for cars, primarily fan shrouds and the other black plastic parts). Shaw might have been the first to claim recycled nylon fiber content in production goods (I am not sure they were, but who was isn't that relevant to this discussion, except that oyu have taken them to task. I think we can agree Image was the first to heavily market the use of fiber made from recycled products- the milk and pop bottles you refer to.), a practice which others have adopted. The shortcomings in accurate reporting notwithstanding, I am glad some initiative is being taken by anyone to address the issue and allow carpet to join a list of products capable of being closed loop recycled.

    I think a comparison of carpet to an aluminum can is disingenuous. An aluminum can has one metal for it's entire composition and the closed loop recycling of it is quite simple. Carpet, on the other hand, is made up of a multiple of components and requires a far more complicated recovery process.

    Maybe some history and discussion about the concerns that brought recycling of carpet to the forefront may be enlightening. It is not, unfortunately a story of great altruism on the part of the floorcovering industry. It was far more reactionary than visionary. At the beginning of the asbestos litigation that were many states contemplating laws that would make manufacturers of virtually every product responsible for their ultimate disposal. While the intent of these statutes were really for toxic materials, an ancillary concern was the quantity of solid waste being generated and the potential lack of places to put it. Although carpet has never exceeded 1% of the total for land fill, it is a product that does not break down. Mills and fiber companies were faced with the real possibility they would still own the materials in land fills and would one day could be forced to take them back. Efforts were undertaken by the fiber companies to come up with recycling solutions. Bear in mind in the mid 80s Mohawk and Shaw were not five billion dollar entities. DuPont, BASF, Monsanto and Allied Signal were, hence why most of the early work was done by them- simple economics and a belief that the problem would eventually land in their laps anyway. It was determined very early on that nylon can be re-polymerized. It was also found that type 6 nylon, due to it single component (caprolactam), was far easier and cheaper to do this with. Type 6,6 requires significantly higher cost.

    I agree that claims about nylon 6 being green are suspect but for a different reason. My issue is not with the fact that it can be closed looped recycled, which is established fact, but with the timing in making the claims. Seems to me to be more opportunistic than anything else.

    Last comment for now: Ken makes a great point. Until we, as American consumers, let go of the buy and throw away mentality (which current economics may force) I am not optimistic about too much change. I think this is confirmed by the way far too many (at the risk of chiding some members here) are derogatorily labeled "tree huggers" or similar even less pleasant terms. A genuine spirit of stewardship for our planet is a positive, not a negative.
  20. Elmer Fudd

    Elmer Fudd Administwative Asst. Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    In defense of Shaw, they are placing a toll free # on the back of carpet tile. They are not saying that they will come get it at the end of its life but they will assist in its return.

    Scratch that comment!! I just checked the back of my Shaw Commercial Product Reference Guide. For Ecoworx backed materials they WILL come and get it @N/C to the consumer. They call it cradle-to-cradle engineering.

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