Techtextil North America

Free membership

Receive our weekly Newsletter
and set tailored daily news alerts.


Accelerating progress for Bylon at FET

Trials enable leap in technological readiness for new nylon.

18th December 2023

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Leeds, United Kingdom

Sustainable, Sports/​Outdoor

Sci-Lume Labs, based at the Francis Tuttle Technology Centre in Oklahoma, is a new start-up company dedicated to developing a new synthetic fibre called Bylon.

The aim of founder and chemist Oliver Shafaat is to position the patent-pending bio-based and biodegradable apparel yarn as a replacement for conventional nylon in order to make clothes made of synthetic fibres more environmentally friendly.

Shafaat has teamed up with the UK’s Fibre Extrusion Technology Limited (FET) to accelerate devlopment, based on the company’s ability to support the melt spinning of a diverse range of polymers as a contract research service.

FET designs, develops, and manufactures extrusion equipment for a range of high value textile material applications worldwide. Established in 1998, its major strength has always been in collaborating with customers on testing, evaluating and developing high value materials with diverse functional properties.


Tests and trials

The collaboration process between the two companies began in summer 2021 and initial discussions highlighted FET’s ability to conduct lab tests to provide an initial spinnability assessment with just 100 grams of material.

However, to run a trial on an FET pilot line, the realistic minimum is 1-2kg. Larger quantities of 5kg meanwhile provide the opportunity to generate substantially more information and samples.

A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) was then signed between the two companies so that the exact nature of the project could be reviewed. From these discussions, it became clear that FET had the appropriate expertise and facilities for carrying out the initial spinning trials. At this point, Sci-Lume Labs focused on developing its novel polymer and conducting extensive in-house trials in preparation for hand-off to FET.

In early 2023, Sci-Lume Labs resumed contact, having made significant progress with its polymer and being now in the position to run a melt-spinning trial. Initially the company wanted to conduct multifilament and monofilament extrusion trials – both of which are offered by FET – but decided to focus initially on multifilament spinning.

In July, joined by Shafaat, the trial was conducted at FET’s Fibre Development Centre in Leeds.

“I greatly appreciated being able to participate in the trial, as seeing melt spinning first-hand enabled me to better understand the process, and anticipate the problems Sci-Lume Labs might encounter as we scaled Bylon production,” Shafaat said. “As a result of FET’s preparation, expertise and facilities, the first-ever spinning trials successfully produced viable Bylon yarn for apparel.” 

Sci-Lume Labs subsequently conducted further studies on the new yarn to better understand how it would respond to downstream processing such as knitting, dyeing, and wash/dry cycles.

In October 2023, a further trial was undertaken at FET with the aim of generating more yarn, as well as improving and refining the Bylon spinning process. Unfortunately, this trial was not successful.

“While I was not physically present, I was impressed by FET’s ability to provide effective, live communication throughout, and felt that FET was taking all the necessary steps to resolve the issues encountered during the trial,” Shafaat explained.

Further discussions have identified the root cause of these problems, which Sci-Lume Labs is working to address prior to future engagements with FET.

FET’s work on Bylon has enabled Sci-Lume Labs to better understand its technology and to have physical products that can be showcased to apparel industry brands, manufacturers and potential investors. This progress has accelerated Sci-Lume Labs’ technological readiness level (TRL) from TRL 3 to TRL 6, bringing the company significantly closer to its commercialisation goal.

Latest Reports

Business intelligence for the fibre, textiles and apparel industries: technologies, innovations, markets, investments, trade policy, sourcing, strategy...

Find out more