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Masterbatch of activated carbon for moisture control in fabrics
17
Jul '08
Americhem Inc has partnered with Cocona Inc to create a unique masterbatch of activated carbon. Fabrics made with nylon and polyester fibers containing this additive offer excellent moisture management and are cool and comfortable for athletes and active professionals.

By using an innovative and proprietary dispersion and formulation procedure, Americhem was able to develop a masterbatch suitable for fine denier spinning. All this was accomplished without affecting the properties of the activated carbon, despite encapsulation in the host polymer, explains Dr. Vaman Kulkarni, Technical Marketing Director for Americhem.

“No other company was able to create a dispersion that would work in this particular application,” says Jonathan Erb, Chief Marketing Officer for Cocona Inc. “This natural technology is unique to Cocona fabrics and provides an exceptional competitive advantage to our brand partners in their product categories.”

Cocona Inc specifies the material, which is a by-product of recycled coconut shells from food industry waste. Americhem uses its decades of fibers pigment dispersion expertise to create a dispersion based on the coconut shells, which might otherwise go into a landfill. Encapsulated into a masterbatch, the product disperses evenly throughout the thin polyester fibers as they are spun, ensuring an even distribution throughout the knitted fabric.

Apparel made from the fiber helps spread and evaporate surface moisture rapidly, making it perfect for sportswear, undergarments, golf apparel and other active applications. Over 50 brands are utilizing Cocona fibers in sports and activewear including Eddie Bauer, Cutter & Buck, Izod, New Balance, Marmot, GoLite, Oakley, Patagonia and Cannondale.

Cocona fibers are used in garments ranging from shirts, pants, shorts, outerwear, underwear, footwear, travel wear and tank tops. Cocona recently began featuring full-page advertisements in Sports Illustrated and Golf magazines, highlighting the brands that utilize its technology for golf apparel. Additional ads supporting Cocona brand partners are being run in Men's Health, Backpacker and Outside magazines.

“Essentially, what we are doing is applying principles learned from our nano-technology research. In order to have the activated carbon present in a fine enough form, we use a multiple-step process to reduce the size of the carbon particles. We then encapsulate the particles in a carrier resin that will promote dispersion into the very fine denier filaments used in high-performance apparel. It was not an easy result to achieve,” says Roger Threadgill, Americhem's Technology Manager for its Fibers and Engineering Resins divisions.

Another unique feature is the fact that smart fiber “recharges” itself after a washing and drying cycle. This enables the fabric and its unique properties to never wear out and never wash away. In fact, the performance of the fabric could evenimprove over time, according to Dr. Greg Haggquist, the inventor of Cocona technology.

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