From Outerwear to Workwear, Fabric R&D Spikes New Performance Levels

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Photo credit: Dupont Sorona

Technical innovations that create high-performance fibers and fabrics continue to be at the forefront of product development in the textile industry.

From cooling and insulating materials for activewear, to flame resistant, abrasion and impact-resistant fabrics for durable workwear, companies are reaching new heights through collaborations, and with research and development.

DuPont Industrial Biosciences is collaborating with Unifi Inc., to create high-performance, renewably sourced garment insulation, offering apparel brands a new sustainable choice for cold-weather products.

This partnership combines DuPont Sorona polymer and Unifi Repreve to produce cold-weather apparel insulation that is soft and durable, with strong shape retention.

DuPont Sorona is made from 37 percent renewable plant-based ingredients, using 30 percent less energy with 63 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to nylon 6, the company noted. The soft hand, inherent stain resistance and durability of Sorona offers customers in a wide range of industries a more sustainable, high-performance materials option. The polymer has been used in everything from carpeting to Indian sarees.

Repreve is a high-quality fiber containing recycled materials. Unifi’s proprietary process turns plastic bottles into certified fiber, which is then used in thousands of different fabrics and products available globally.

“The combination of Sorona and Repreve provides brands the opportunity to use a high-performance, durable insulation that dries quickly and keeps its shape even after washing,” said Michael Saltzberg, global business director for Biomaterials at DuPont. “The new insulation’s unique warmth and durability will bring customers streamlined outerwear, made from eco-friendly materials, while maintaining maximum warmth and breathability.

[Read more about textile innovation: Textile Firms Put More Focus on Specialized Workwear Materials]

Ning Hongjun, president Unifi Asia Pacific, said the collaboration will give customers the freedom to choose a new type of garment insulation that is eco-friendly without compromising performance.

“With our expertise in recycled polyester staple fiber and DuPont Industrial Biosciences’ industry-leading Sorona, we look forward to seeing this breakthrough technology be widely adopted by leading brands,” Hongiun added.

Teijin Aramid, a specialist in high-performance industrial fabrics, has introduced Teijinconex Coolnex Super Wicking Fabric, a light-weight, soft and comfortable flame resistant fabric.

Teijin, based in the Netherlands, said the outstanding feature of this new fabric is a quick dry absorption of perspiration without losing its flame resistance, an innovation that meant to fulfill the needs of the workwear industry.

The innovative single layer fabric combines the best in personal protection fabrics with high performance sports textiles, providing high levels of thermal protective performance against heat, flames and flash fire. Designed to breathe, the fabric allows the sweat to move from the body to outside, producing a cotton-like feel.

The fabric is reinforced with high performance Twaron or Technora para-aramid fibers for superior strength and durability. Garments made with Teijinconex Coolnex not only retain their protective properties after thermal exposure, but remain comfortable and service worthy longer.

“With our long history and experience in professional protective apparel and sportswear, we designed a fabric that brings comfort in flame resistant work wear to the next level,” Christian Norhausen, business department head of Heat & Cut protection at Teijin Aramid, said. “The intrinsically built-in flame resistance and moisture dry release properties make this an…outstanding fabric for everyday use.”

Cooling textile innovator brrr° was recently chosen for inclusion in the Material Library maintained by Material ConneXion, a unit of Sandow that consults with Fortune 500 companies on performance materials and design thinking.

Material ConneXion maintains one of the world’s largest subscription-based materials library with thousands of innovative materials and processes, and its research division works with companies to strategically incorporate trends and innovation into their business models and products.

Brrr° fabrics were recognized as having the “innate qualities that our team of material scientists and specialists look for when adding a material to our library of advanced, innovative and sustainable materials,” Material ConneXion said about the inclusion of brrr° fabrics in its full-service libraries in New York, Bangkok, Milan, Tokyo, Bilbao, Spain, and Daegu, South Korea, plus certain satellite and educational libraries around the world.

Brrr° uses a proprietary blend of natural cooling minerals embedded in yarn, superior moisture wicking and a patented knitting and weaving process that maximizes airflow to create a “triple chill effect.” This gives brrr° fabrics Qmax cooling scores that are 30 to 85 percent better than the scores of comparable virgin nylon, polyester or cotton, and the cooling effect of brrr° has also been independently lab tested and validated by the prestigious Hohenstein Institute.

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