Home / Knowledge / News / Textiles / Superabsorbent fabric keeps feet dry in all weathers
Superabsorbent fabric keeps feet dry in all weathers
07
Oct '08
Come rain or sunshine, children prefer to run around outdoors. But the fun is soon over if they get wet feet while hopping through the puddles. Rain boots may keep the moisture out, but they quickly turn into miniature foot saunas.

How can a shoe keep out the rain and still allow sufficient air to reach children's delicate feet? The answer is Luquafleece, a superabsorbent polyester nonwoven material produced by BASF in a unique process.

A small piece of this special, moisture-absorbing fleece is the heart of IQ .TEX, the novel ventilation element launched by the Hamburg company IQTEX: "Compared to conventional functional clothing, shoes made with this technology are not only breathable but, depending on the weather, can also be as air-permeable as cotton socks or as watertight as rain boots," says Michael Dehn, managing director of IQTEX.

When exposed to water, the tiny polymer granules of the superabsorber, which are permanently bound to the nonwoven fibers by a special BASF process, absorb up to 400 times their own weight of liquid and expand accordingly.

Superabsorbers owe this enormous suction power to their molecular structure consisting of the basic component acrylic acid. BASF chemists have joined together countless numbers of these tiny molecules into long chains that are linked together at large intervals. The result is a loose bundle of molecules that absorbs water like a molecular sponge. But the key factor producing the great absorption is the material's high ion charge. It generates an osmotic pressure that draws surrounding water into the polymer network.

Water is absorbed until the elastic restoring force of the polymer network compensates the osmotic forces. The ventilation element utilizes the small particles' thirst to seal the inside of the child's shoe against water from outside: two honeycombed lattices limit the upward and downward expansion of the small Luquafleece sections. The swelling superabsorbent particles can then only expand sideways where they soon meet up again and seal all the cavities in the nonwoven material.

On contact with water, the Luquafleece – although it was highly permeable just a few moments ago – very quickly becomes absolutely watertight. Back in dry surroundings, the water absorbed by Luquafleece evaporates and the pores reopen within a short time depending on the temperature and atmospheric humidity - allowing the air to circulate freely again.

"The superabsorber permanently surrounds the fibers of the fleece like droplets and with its high loading density provides absolute protection against the wet shoe," explains Dr. Peter Rudolf, superabsorber specialist at BASF. "The fleece can saturate itself with water any number of times and then release it again through evaporation. It's exactly this reversible moisture uptake that makes the fleece interesting for a multitude of applications."

A single square meter of the fleece, which is only a few millimeters thick when dry, can absorb up to 26 liters of water. An absolute innovation is the principle of IQ .TEX , in which a small piece of Luquafleece completely self-seals the system when exposed to wet conditions. "The idea of utilizing the mechanical barrier function of our Luquafleece came from the development experts at IQTEX, who in partnership with us then developed it into a marketable product," says Dr. Peter Rudolf.

Must ReadView All

President Tsai Ing-wen delivering remarks before boarding her plane bound for Central America. Courtesy: Presdient's office

Textiles | On 16th Jan 2017

‘Textiles at centre of Taiwan’s new trade arrangements’

Textiles should be at the heart of Taiwan’s thinking while developing ...

Apparel/Garments | On 16th Jan 2017

Ralph Lauren develops policy on tracking wood based fabrics

In a bid to trace source of wood based fabrics like viscose and rayon ...

Apparel/Garments | On 16th Jan 2017

EC proposes enhanced market access for Sri Lanka

The European Commission (EC) has proposed that a significant part of...

Interviews View All

Pratik Bachkaniwala
Palod Himson Machines

Fabric processing machines are picking up

Amrit Sethia
SOIE

‘The intimatewear category in India is slowly becoming trend-sensitive.’

Smita Murarka
Amanté

‘There is huge demand in the Indian lingerie market for non-wired styles.’

Eric Scholler
Groz-Beckert

The Indian market has huge potential in technical textiles, and by far,...

Urs Stalder
Sanitized AG

Urs Stalder, CEO, Sanitized AG, talks about the increasing use of hygiene...

Steve Cole
Xerium Technologies

Steve Cole of Xerium Technologies discusses the industry. Xerium is the...

Bani Batra

Bani Batra’s couture wedding collection is inspired by traditional Indian...

Prathyusha Garimella
Prathyusha Garimella

Hyderabad-based designer Prathyusha Garimella is known for blending...

Robert Brunner
Devereux

Golfwear and menswear brand Devereux is set for greener pastures. Robert...

Press Release

Press Release

Letter to Editor

Letter to Editor

RSS Feed

RSS Feed

Submit your press release on


editorial@fibre2fashion.com

Letter To Editor






(Max. 8000 char.)

Search Companies





SEARCH
January 2017

January 2017

Subscribe today and get the latest update on Textiles, Fashion, Apparel and so on.

SUBSCRIBE


Browse Our Archives

GO


eNEWS
Insights
Subscribe today and get the latest News update in your mail box.
Advanced Search