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Courtaulds/Allied Colloids developing novel SA fiber.

Courtaulds/Allied Colloids Developing Novel SA Fiber

While still in the developmental stages, the new superabsorbent fiber being produced through a joint venture between Allied Colloids and Courtaulds is targeting a void in the market for absorbent products.

The two U.K. companies have been working as a joint venture to develop a polyacrylate superabsorbent fiber suitable for absorbent product cores and conversion into nonwovens. There has been no decision to go commercial with the product yet, but the "FSA" superabsorbent fiber has reportedly attracted considerable interest within the industry, especially since the withdrawal from the market of the Arco Chemical's "Fibersorb" superabsorbent fiber earlier this year.

The two partners emphasize that FSA fibers offer "ease of use" advantages over superabsorbent powders. Technical information provided revealed that primarily air laid but also cardable qualities are inherent in the new fiber for applications in which absorbency under pressure is important.

Superabsorbent fibers can be blended with a range of natural and synthetic fibers and pulps to produce a variety of nonwoven fabrics, yarns, knits and woven fabrics. The fiber cross section is circular but with a crenelated surface. The latter is due to longitudinal grooves that are believed to be beneficial in aiding wicking of moisture along the fiber surface.

Composite structures can also be produced by laminating FSA fiber-containing fabrics with other fabrics and films. One particularly interesting structure is composed of three layers - a polyolefin or viscose top fabric, a needlepunched fabric containing 50% FSA fiber and polyolefin film. Laminating a polyolefin film has also been shown to produce an effective absorption sheet.

The joint venture partners are studying potential applications for nonwoven fabrics and composite structures, including baby diapers, feminine hygiene products, incontinence products, water absorbing filtration media, disposable towels, hospital disposables, horticultural mats and cable wraps.
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Title Annotation:joint research and development venture on superabsorbent fibers
Author:Haddad, Clare
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Date:Nov 1, 1991
Previous Article:No raw deal for nonwovens suppliers.
Next Article:Despite impending sale, Unocal Polymers continues aggressive posture in 1991.

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