, Volume 26, Issue 10, pp 6379–6391 | Cite as

Salt-free and environment-friendly reactive dyeing of cotton in cottonseed oil/water system

  • Bingnan Mu
  • Wei Li
  • Helan Xu
  • LaRee Emanuel
  • Yiqi YangEmail author
Original Research


This research studies the reactive dyeing in cottonseed oil/water dual-phase solvents system (CWDS) and establishes sustainable industrial dyeing procedures using cottonseed oil. The conventional aqueous dyeing generates large quantities of wastewater containing high concentrations of salts and dyes and has very low dye-fixation. Substituted dyeing technologies not only failed to completely solve problems of aqueous dyeing but also generated new problems such as high cost for modifications of dyeing facilities and new environmental pollution. Using cottonseed oil as external dyeing phase notably increases the dye concentration in the internal solvent phase via raising the chemical potential of dyes at outer phase without the use of salts. The dye fixation based on the total dye added to the dyebath for CWDS increases by up to 30% compared to aqueous dyeing. Besides, the external phase in CWDS is recyclable and biodegradable. Furthermore, using CWDS, fabrics are dyed in current jet-dyeing facilities on a pilot scale and have the same levelness and colorfastness as those from aqueous dyeing. Dye fixation using pilot-scale jet dyeing machines in CWDS achieves 90%+. The materials and energy costs of CWDS are lower than those of aqueous dyeings.

Graphic abstract


Dual phases Cottonseed oil Chemical potential Low discharge Pilot-scale dyeing 



Supercritical CO2




Cottonseed oil/water dual-phase solvents system

RR 120

Reactive Red 120


Reactive Red 24


Chemical oxygen demand


The 5-day biochemical oxygen demand



This research was financially supported by Cotton Incorporated Grant (18-098), National Institute of Food and Agriculture (Multi-State Project S1054, NEB37-037), USDA Hatch Act, and the Agricultural Research Division at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Authors are grateful to China Scholarship Council for its financial support to Wei Li, and the John and Louise Skala Fellowship and American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists Students Grant for their financial support to Bingnan Mu. The research was performed in part in the Nebraska Nanoscale Facility: National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure and the Nebraska Center for Materials and Nanoscience, which are supported by the National Science Foundation under Award ECCS: 1542182, and the Nebraska Research Initiative. We also thank the Lincoln Wastewater System for providing activated sludges.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict interest.

Supplementary material

Supplementary material 1 (AVI 4985 kb)

10570_2019_2541_MOESM2_ESM.docx (92 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 92 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion DesignUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biological Systems EngineeringUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA
  3. 3.Nebraska Center for Materials and NanoscienceUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA

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