Kuraray has also developed towable polyacrylate water bags made from Vectran, and Flextar fabrics made from Kuralon K-II polyvinyl alcohol (PVA).
Mitsubishi Rayon Engineering’s steam-jet entanglement process opens up new end uses for nonwovens. Fabrics made from Omikenshi’s Sundia viscose fibres are able to deodorise on exposure to sunlight. Crabyon activates the lysozyme enzyme in the body which gives protection from germs. Kishu Binchotan particles are said to create a sense of well-being, absorb odours and humidity and release far-infrared radiation to aid blood circulation. Other fibres contain the health-giving compounds squalene and squalane. Daiwabo is using artificial enzymes to create odour-free fabrics. Ingenious nonwovens containing photocatalysts are used for filtration by Kurashiki Textile.
Teijin Twaron’s rubber additive based on a para-aramid fibre increases the durability of tyres and reduces rolling resistance. Health and safety considerations are also prominent. Asahi Kasei, Teijin and Toyobo have developed polyester cushioning materials to compete with PU foam in public transport seating and household furniture. Also, a number of developments are directed towards environmental protection.
Teijin Fibers has developed Ecocircle, a system for recycling synthetic fibres from discarded garments. Other companies have developed new processes for recycling polyester terephthalate (PET) bottles into polyester fibre.
Biofibres are also growing in importance. Teijin has a heat-stable polylactic alternative to traditional polyesters, and Toray has a biofibre car mat, also based on polylactic acid. Other plant-derived fibres include polybutylene succinate and natural fibres such as bamboo and kenaf. Fujitsu has a biopolymer derived from castor oil and Honda has a plant-based fabric for car interiors.
Teijin’s new monofilament Morphotex mimics butterfly wings by using interference to produce colour without pigments or dyes. Teijin also has a polyester alternative to high grade merino wool and a polyester fabric for sportswear which absorbs and releases moisture rapidly.
Polymers Want a Fabric.
SYDNEY, Australia -- Fancy this: clothing that generates solar power, fabrics that beep if you risk athletic injury and bed sheets that monitor your heartbeat and physiological health.
Welcome to the world of "intelligent polymers," a chemical research frontier that could revolutionize textiles.
At its simplest, intelligent polymers are plastic strands that can carry electricity, altering their conductivity in response to stretching, heating or sunlight. By weaving these into clothing, and measuring changes in the current passing through them, any number of new applications are possible.
The groundbreaking research in this area occurred back in the 1970s when U.S. and Japanese researchers stumbled across the discovery that, in certain circumstances, plastic could act as a conductor, rather than an insulator, of electricity. But it's only been in the past five years that researchers have looked aggressively at incorporating these polymers into things such as clothing.
The first prototype thus far has been the "knee sleeve," a training device tested last year on Australian professional athletes to reduce knee injuries. It fits over the knee like an open-ended sock.
When the fabric is stretched, indicating a harmful movement of the knee, the altered electrical charge within the sleeve's polymers triggers a detachable buzzer. That tells the athlete he's got bad habits and risks anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) damage, according to Julie Steele, a biomechanics researcher at the University of Wollongong, where the device was designed.
Nearly 70 percent of such injuries come from landing the wrong way from jumps. They can sideline athletes in sports such as basketball, football and rugby for a year or longer and cost millions of dollars to treat, Steele said.
The sleeve was tested by the Geelong Football Club in preseason training last November, under the supervision of the team's doctor, Hugh Seward, who's also president of the Medical Officers Association of the Australian Football League. Australian football is a quirky, but fast-moving amalgam of soccer, basketball and American football.
Seward says he was highly impressed by the injury-avoiding capabilities of the knee sleeve, which is now undergoing further refinement.
Seward, like Steele, says derivations of the sleeve could help reduce other sports injuries such as elbow problems among tennis players, Achilles' tendon problems among runners and knee injuries among skiers. It could also be used in applications such as teaching better golf swings or ensuring that physical therapy patients exercise correctly.
Other uses could include textiles such as bed sheets that constantly monitor a user's heartbeat, outdoor clothing that change insulation and waterproofing properties in response to temperature and humidity.
But perhaps the most amazing over-the-horizon application of "intelligent polymers" may be those that could one day convert sunlight to electricity, leading to clothing that generates solar power merely by being worn, according to Gordon Wallace, director of the Intelligent Polymer Research Institute in Wollongong (IPRI), south of Sydney.
Textiles - polymers - plastics can we expect anything else in our fabrics that we might wear in future ?.