The Microfibre Consortium (TMC) shared preliminary results from the first phase of its product development research and testing program with its members, on the occasion of a recent forum. The consortium and its research partner, the University of Leeds, said that data now confirm that fiber fragmentation, contrary to the findings of earlier research papers, is not purely related to fiber composition but more complex than previously thought.

Researchers have been able to demonstrate, explained the TMC, that fiber fragmentation is affected by materials, fibers, yarn structure, fabric structure and finishing processes. This is why it is not possible to simply state that one fabric type is worse than another while ignoring the complexity. When comparing two fabrics at the moment of testing, which initially appear to be the same in that they were both knitted filament polyester, fabric B was found to have over 30 times more fiber fragmentation than fabric A. It is therefore necessary to fully understand how fabric material and structural factors influence fragmentation – a complexity the TMC is working on, the organization said.

The TMC was founded as a stand-alone organization in November 2018, following the formation and management of The Outdoor Microfibre Consortium by the European Outdoor Group (EOG) in 2017. The TMC, headquartered in the U.K., facilitates the collaborative development of practical solutions for the textile industry to minimize microfiber release to the environment from textile manufacturing and product lifecycle. Today, the TMC has 40 members from across the outdoor sector, sports, high street, luxury fashion and home textiles.