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Fibers & Textiles Green

Fibers & Textiles Green high performance textiles With its long-standing experience of more than 60 years, Arkema is the world leader in castor oil chemistry. Based on this chemistry, the company produces Rilsan ® polyamide 11 (PA11), the only high performance polyamide entirely derived from a 100% renewable and ecological raw material. Arkema developed a large range of PA11 grades, adapted to specific, high demanding applications, such as automotive industry, oil production and sports, but also, textile applications. From the popular fibre to the era of green chemistry PA 11 was first synthesized in 1942 and patented in 1947. Its initial applications were right in the textile industry, which used Rilsan fibres to make bathing suits, socks and stockings that “will last for ever”, as well as permanently pressed shirts and undergarments. Until the 1970s, the product was as popular as nylon, its main competitor. Then, the product gradually disappeared from the textile market place to serve industrial applications requiring high resistance. But to target new markets in which ecological challenges and the quest for technical performance have become a genuine concern and a differentiating factor, Arkema has recently re-marketed a special grade of Rilsan to be spun into high performance fibres. These technical fibres combine a unique bunch of advantages: light weight, soft touch, dimensional stability, bacteriostatic properties (no need for a specific treatment), abrasion and chemical resistance, non-iron - or even lower sweat with its low water uptake. Rapidly, consumer products manufactured with innovative textiles based on Rilsan fibres combining both the environmental and the technical benefits, appeared on the market. As an example the French company MONNET, the famous sports and outdoor socks brand, has developed ultra tough sports socks made of Risan fibres, designed jointly with SOFILA, the French nylon yarn spinning specialist. These ski socks are typically very soft to the touch, lightweight, comfortable and offer natural bacteriostatic and thermo-regulating properties. Tested by a large number of manufacturers within the textile sector, Rilsan PA11 fibres from SOFILA were soon to be used in many other hosiery brands. In another sector, UNITIKA, a Japanese company specializing in technical fibres for the manufacture of garments and luggage, have contributed to the design of a new luggage range entirely manufactured from PA11 fibre. Thanks to Rilsan, the outstanding characteristics of these bags include superior sturdiness and wear resistance. Pebax ® Rnew : a bio-sourced elastomer for non woven textiles Another innovation based on Arkema’s polyamide 11 expertise is Pebax Rnew, a polyether block amide, partially bio-sourced. With this new elastomer containing between 20 and 90% renewable raw materials, Arkema promises to open up revolutionary opportunities for the design of durable elastomer nonwovens for superior performance, lighter weight, and ease of assembly. The high elongation and high energy recovery of Pebax Rnew nonwoven material is produced with the meltblown process. As a meltblown web, Pebax Rnew can be used to make roll goods with a large width which are then cut into narrow widths. These nonwovens are suitable replacements for many narrow elastic and spandex-containing woven or knitted textiles. In a waistband for example, 200 g/m² Pebax Rnew webs afford total recovery when stretched 100% repeatedly, and elongation at break of up of 600%. They also have excellent hot-wash and dry cleaning resistance. Melt spinning of nonwovens is a rapidly growing process, and is a simple and inexpensive approach to converting polymer directly into roll goods. “Greener” materials in terms of resources and energy consumption In addition to their renewable source, Rilsan and Pebax Rnew production are characterized by 15%, (on average) lower fossil energy requirements than for petroleum-based polyamides. The CO 2 emissions related to the production of Rilsan and Pebax Rnew are on average 75% lower. This environmental footprint argument is seriously considered by more and more players that assess the environmental impact of their manufactured products. 22 bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/14] Vol. 9

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