BASF’s functional textiles coolsbody

BASF’s functional textiles that cools the body

12:34 PM, 23rd May 2017
BASF’s functional textiles that cools the body
Electron micrograph showing the polyester nonwoven fabric coated with superabsorbers (75:1 magnification).

LUDWIGSHAFEN, GERMANY: BASF has developed an active functional cooling clothing that provides evaporative cooling which is individually dosable and lasts for hours. The functional cooling textiles of the E COOLINE and IDENIXX brands, incorporating the spe­cially developed superabsorbent nonwoven fabric from BASF, offers a mobile air conditioning system to wear which effectively supports the cooling system of the human body.

Cooling vests, for example, are easy to use and can be worn like any other item of clothing once being activated by “charging” with water. The water enters the active layer – the Luquafleece from BASF – after being rapidly absorbed and distributed through a bacteriostatic textile fabric.

With higher outdoor temperatures or increasing skin temperature during sports or work activity, the water molecules firmly bound inside the functional cooling clothing absorb the thermal energy, evaporate from the large surface of the three-dimensional nonwoven structure and thereby cool down the wearer.

The body sweats less and thereby saves energy that would usually be needed for thermoregulation. External cooling can, therefore, provide an increase in performance of up to ten percent in hot conditions. Moreover, important body parameters – such as heart rate – are improved which protects people´s health.

“The fibres of this nonwoven fabric are coated with superabsorbent polymers (SAP) through a special technology. They absorb the water in a few seconds and retain it,” said expert Norbert Heidinger of BASF New Business GmbH, who markets the material.

The functional clothing only cools the body to the extent required by the prevailing situation. The intensity of evaporative cooling adapts to the surrounding tempera­ture and exertion. Thus, no negative cooling effects can occur.

With the E COOLINE and IDENIXX brands, the idea of mobile, simple and effective cooling has therefore been successfully implemented and marketed. Apart from innovative materials, the environmentally friendly because bionic system only requires water and the heat the user wants to get rid of anyway.

Interview with Gabriele Renner, CEO of the company “pervormance international GmbH” from Ulm (Germany), describes the benefits.

What advantages offers the BASF product Luquafleece for you?

In this joint project, it was particularly important for us to obtain a washable cooling product which is also hard-wearing and hygienic. The three-dimensional nonwoven fabric with its special fiber structure also offers an enormously large surface area capa­ble of delivering 600 watts per liter of cooling energy through the evaporating water. Through our “cool to go” principle, the material generates a rapid and perceptible cooling effect even in extreme environmental conditions.

What areas of application of the cooling system are particularly important?
At present, the main application is in the field of occupational health and safety, because many people worldwide have to work at high environmental temperatures, partly also because of climate change. The resulting cardiovascular strain, concentration problems and states of exhaustion impair health and safety at work. Studies have also shown that the productivity of companies is thereby reduced. Both can be improved by using our functional cooling textiles.

Where do you see further potential for air conditioning functional clothing in future?
Medicine is definitely another field of application in the future. Here we have already shown that we can significantly improve quality of life of people affected by multiple sclerosis with our cooling vests. There are also other valuable uses such as treating menopausal complaints like hot flushes or reducing fever with our calf coolers, to mention only two. We also have projects under development in the fields of orthopedics and even beauty medicine.

Luquafleece as problem solver for wound healing and moisture management innovation for wound healing: BASF together with OSNovative Systems Inc have developed an innovative universal wound dressing which is suitable for all types of wounds and creates ideal conditions for wound heal­ing. The wound dressings are marketed under the name Enluxtra in US. This disruptive technology based on the superabsorber nonwoven material Luquafleece provided by BASF accelerates the wound healing process of most wounds and thereby reduces medical treatment costs.

Passive seat temperature control: In the lightweight comfort seat of the concept vehicle “smart forvision” from the Recaro company, as well as in office chairs of the Vitra company, the BASF nonwoven fabric Luquafleece reduces moisture in the seat and on its surface. In this way, prolonged sitting remains pleasant even on stressful workdays and during long car journeys. This moisture management also plays an important role in electronics, which represents another future application for this innovative material. Moreover, intelligent ventilation elements for shoes, offered by the Hamburg company IQTEX, are already based on the moisture-absorbent fleece. Depending on the weather conditions, these elements are either breathable or watertight.

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