Increasing Fiber Strength and Longevity in Laundry

6 Submissions
40 Views
$20,000 USD
Due:  18th Jun 2024

Challenge overview

OVERVIEW

The Seeker for this Wazoku Crowd Challenge is looking for novel solutions that increase the longevity of fibers in clothing and textiles, to be applied in-wash and with no extra pre-treatment steps to the process.

Effective cleaning and dirt removal through washing often impacts the lifespan of these textiles: affecting the softness, wear, and fiber strength of clothing. The mechanical movement of a washing machine and the strength of commercial products can have adverse effects on how long our clothes last – creating problems not only for individual consumers, but for the environment and sustainability aims, too.

The Seeker invites well-reasoned, detailed solutions and proposals around increasing the longevity of fibers. Your solution(s) should work on a wide variety of clothing, have no adverse effects to color care or clean effectiveness, and would ideally be delivered within the detergent, softener, or fabric finisher. Solvers who can additionally provide proof-of-concept data or test results would help the Seeker to validate the effectiveness of your solution, with a greater likeliness of shortlisting for further steps.

Your IP Rights are protected in this Prize Challenge; the Seeker must award you to obtain them.

The Prize Challenge requires a written proposal to be submitted and Awards will be contingent upon the theoretical evaluation of the proposal by the Seeker against the Solution Requirements. To receive an Award for this Prize Challenge, Solvers are required to transfer non-exclusive rights to the Intellectual Property (IP) in their proposed solution. There is no assignment of IP Rights with this challenge. Solvers will retain all rights to any proposal not Awarded.

WIN Scouts are very much invited to participate, this being any Solver who can propose a potentially suitable partner (startup or expert) from your network.

As a WIN Scout, by referring a relevant partner you will be recognized with a share of a separate $500 recognition award if your referral meets certain minimum criteria of detail, relevance, and format. The input required is guided during the submission process for WIN Scouts below.

Wazoku welcomes WIN Scouts and referred partners to become active members of Wazoku Innovation Networks (WIN).

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on June 18, 2024.

- Login or register your interest to start solving and scouting

 

ABOUT THE SEEKER & ELIGIBILITY

What is the Wazoku Crowd?

Imagine a world where any problem you have can be looked at by millions of expert, motivated eyes. The Wazoku Crowd makes this possible. With twenty years of experience in crowdsourcing, the Wazoku Crowd is the gold standard for open talent and external innovation solutions. Commercial, governmental and humanitarian organizations engage with the Wazoku Crowd to solve problems that can impact humankind in areas ranging from the environment to medical advancements.

WIN Scouts are very much invited to participate, this being any Solver who can propose a potentially suitable partner (startup or expert) from your network.

Wazoku welcomes WIN Scouts and referred partners to become active members of Wazoku Innovation Networks (WIN).

Find out more about participation in Wazoku Crowd Challenges.


THE CHALLENGE

Background

In commercial laundry and washing processes, fibers in clothing can become thinner and damaged: leading to holes in textiles, decreased wear comfort, and reduced lifespan of the clothing.

There is also a conflict between excellent dirt removal and the longevity of clothing’s fibers. The stronger the ingredients used in detergents and softeners, the more effective the outcomes for stain removal and cleanliness. However, this may affect the strength of certain fibers within clothing.

However, this can affect the longevity of the textiles in common clothing. A garment’s fiber strength, softness and wear comfort, moisture management, pilling, and elasticity can all be affected. The breakdown of fiber strength can also then have knock-on effects: with leaching from certain parts of fibers, color and pigment loss, and the impact of broken fibers leading to holes and worn-out fabric.

These outcomes are then detrimental to the overall goal of laundry products with leached color from broken fibers affecting color care and cleaning, and broken fibers affecting clothing’s longevity.

Barrier care products exist and are known to the Seeker, but these may be incompatible with some clothing types, can decrease the shelf life of detergents, and often need to be applied as an extra step. Known solutions include enzymes for addition to cotton, polymers for maintenance of color and vibrancy, and solutions to address color and pigment loss.

Existing solutions are most effective on purely cotton clothing or classical textiles with a high percentage of cotton, but more and more modern clothing are based on different, mixed ratios. The blends of cotton with synthetics like polyester, polyamid, and elastane means that traditional barrier care products may be less effective.

Similarly, addition of barrier care products like enzymes may be incompatible with certain delivery methods (detergent or softener) to a wash. Detergents are often ‘harsher’ than softeners, and addition of enzymes or inorganics can decrease the effective shelf life of a detergent.

When it comes to barrier care, too, the simplicity of the process should be considered. With more steps in the process, consumers are less likely to routinely and effectively apply barrier care products – resulting in a decreased condition of the clothing/laundry over time.

 

The Challenge

The Seeker for this Challenge is interested in well-reasoned theoretical solutions that can increase the longevity of fibers, applied through an in-wash process (preferably at low temperatures, 30/40°C), and without altering the cleaning performance or textile properties.

Laundry products need to not only remove dirt, but also deliver color care, stain removal, anti-gray performance (increased whiteness), and perfume performance. The performance of laundry products is achieved by a group of diverse ingredients working in tandem to achieve the above outcomes. Any barrier care or fiber longevity solution proposed by Solvers must not affect the way that laundry products provide wash performance. Similarly, solutions which improve the strength of fibers but affect the moisture management, softness and wear comfort, elasticity, or performance of a piece of clothing will not be considered.

The Seeker is aware of known polymers, enzymes, inorganics, cationic ingredients, and surfactants that can and have been added to washes/fibers to avoid damage. Enzymes known to the Seeker are common textile industry cellulases that are effective on cotton, used for bioscouring, biopolishing, and biostonewashing. Polymers known to the Seeker are soil release polymers, used in liquid or solid detergents, applied to laundry in order to protect clothes from dirt. These polymers in the textile industry boost detergent effectiveness even at low temperatures, and, especially when used with synthetic fibers, they can also increase textile comfort.

 

SOLUTION REQUIREMENTS

The Seeker imposes no boundaries on the innovations or approaches within your solution, providing it meets the following solution requirements: effective, increased fiber longevity; no negative impacts on either wash performance or textile properties; and in-wash application with no additional treatment step.

Solvers who propose solutions that are formulated within the detergent or softener itself should detail the proposed breakdown, formulation, or process for including your fiber longevity solution to the Seeker.

Any solution would also have to have an element of sustainability, using biodegradable and renewable materials. No part of your solution must be made from fossil feedstock, and the Seeker is particularly interested in CO2-neutral submissions. Please indicate the sustainability of your solution within your submission.

Submissions must go beyond early-stage ideas, providing detailed reasoning for how your solution/proposal would achieve increased fiber strength/longevity. Solvers who provide proof-of-concept level evidence for their solutions’ performance are more likely to be shortlisted, but evaluation will be conducted without testing.

For Solvers who choose to experiment and validate their proposed solutions, a specific example of a theoretical garment could be consisting of a 50% cotton/50% polyester blend.

The Seeker is therefore primarily interested in solutions with the potential to meet the following must-have requirements:

1. Effective, increased fiber longevity – your solution should increase the strength of fibers or their resistance to damage and wear.

  • Your solution should work on a wide variety of clothing, including classical cotton textiles, modern blends, and other proportions.
  • The Seeker is aware of traditional strength measurements used by the laundry/homecare industry and test/research groups. If possible, you could use these measurements to demonstrate the validity of your solution, for extra credit from evaluators.

However, following theoretical evaluation and award, the Seeker will conduct proof-of-concept testing to validate the performance of your solution.

2. No negative impacts on wash performance or textile properties – your fiber longevity solution should not adversely affect the following:

  • Wash Performance: stain removal
  • Wash: color care
  • Wash: anti-gray performance
  • Wash: Perfume performance
  • Textile Property: softness & wear comfort
  • Textile: moisture management
  • Textile: elasticity
  • Textile: stability

3. In-wash application with no additional treatment step

  • Solutions must be functional at low-temperatures (eco programs, 30/40°C.
  • Ideally, your solution would be formulated within the detergent or softener itself, but must not occur as an additional step (e.g. pre-treatment before a wash cycle).
  • Your solution should be compatible with other ingredients such as enzymes, surfactants, chelates etc. Solvers are asked to cross-check whether the solution is stable in presence of other common detergent ingredients.

Additionally, your solution could meet the following nice-to-have criteria:

  1. Specific details around the sustainability of your proposed solution: informing the Seeker about the solution’s environmental impact, for instance the use of renewable carbon, biodegradability, or CO2 footprint, would be of interest to the evaluators.
  2. Detailed description of the cost of the solution: the Seeker would appreciate details around the cost implications of your solution, if possible, in the format of cost per kilogram ($/kg) or cost per ton ($/ton).

Things to Avoid:

The Seeker is aware of spray-type approaches for adding barrier care or fiber longevity products and is less interested in these proposals.

Solutions with Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) 3-9 are invited, ideation level submissions considering WHAT to do; proof of concept level solutions that propose HOW to solve the specific solution requirements; or production ready collaboration proposals about existing technologies and/or WHO can provide these.

This Prize Challenge has the following features:

  1. Your IP Rights are protected in this Prize Challenge; the Seeker must award you to obtain them.
  2. The best solution in this Prize Challenge has the opportunity to win the award of $20,000 USD for meeting all solution requirements, as solely determined by the Seeker.
  3. Awards will be contingent upon the theoretical evaluation of the proposal by the Seeker against the Solution Requirements.
  4. To receive an Award for this Prize Challenge, Solvers are required to transfer non-exclusive rights to the Intellectual Property (IP) in their solution. Solvers will retain all rights to any proposal not Awarded.
  5. WIN Scouts are invited to participate, this being any Solver who can propose a potentially suitable partner (startup or expert) from your network. As a WIN Scout, by referring a relevant partner you will be recognized with a share of a separate $500 recognition award if your referral meets certain minimum criteria of detail, relevance, and format. The input required is guided during the submission process for WIN Scouts below.
  6. The Seeker may also issue “Honorable Mention” recognitions for notable submissions that are not selected for monetary awards.
  7. The Seeker may wish to partner with the Solver at the conclusion of the Challenge. Please indicate your interest in partnering.
     

YOUR SUBMISSION

Please login and register your interest, to complete the submission form.

The submitted proposals must be written in English and can include:

  1. Participation type – you will first be asked to inform us how you are participating in this challenge, as a Solver (Individual) or Solver (Organization) or WIN Scout.
  2. Solution Level - the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of your solution, TRL1-3 ideation, TRL4-6 proof of concept, TRL7-9 production ready.
  3. Partnering - there may be an opportunity to partner at the conclusion of this Challenge. Please indicate if partnering is of interest to you.
  4. Problem & Opportunity - highlight the innovation in your approach to the Problem, its point of difference, and the specific advantages/benefits this brings (up to 500 words).
  5. Solution Overview - detail the features of your solution and how they address the SOLUTION REQUIREMENTS (500 words, there is space to add more in the summary field, and attach supporting data, diagrams, etc).
  6. Solution Sustainability - Any solution would also have to have an element of sustainability, using biodegradable and renewable materials. No part of your solution must be made from fossil feedstock, and the Seeker is particularly interested in CO2-neutral submissions. Please indicate the sustainability of your solution (up to 500 words).
  7. Solution Feasibility – Supporting Information and Rationale, such as references and precedents, that will help the Seeker evaluate and validate the feasibility of the solution (up to 500 words).
  8. Experience - Expertise, use cases and skills you or your organization have in relation to your proposed solution.  (up to 500 words).
  9. Solution Risks - any risks you see with your solution and how you would plan for this (up to 500 words).
  10. Timeline, capability and costs - describe what you think is required to deliver the solution, estimated time and cost (up to 500 words).
  11. Online References - provide links to any publications, articles or press releases of relevance (up to 500 words).

Wazoku encourages the use by Solvers of AI approaches to help develop their submissions, though any produced solely with generative AI are not of interest.

Find out more about participation in Wazoku Crowd Challenges.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on June 18, 2024.

Late submissions will not be considered.

Your submission will be evaluated by the evaluation team first reviewing the information and content you have submitted at the submission form, with attachments used as additional context to your form submission. Submissions relying solely on attachments will receive less attention from the evaluation team.

After the Challenge submission due date, the Seeker will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to the winning solution(s) according to the timeline in the Challenge header. All Solvers who submit a proposal will be notified about the status of their submissions.

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