Super absorbent fibres provide greater flexibility

Update: 06-12-2019

Most super absorbent material on the market semi-worste […]

Most super absorbent material on the market semi-worsted yarn is in the form of crystals,” explains Dr. Mark Paterson, Product Development Director at Technical Absorbents. “It's the material that is used in diapers or nappies, for example, and is manufactured in high volumes around the world. It is a good super absorbent material, but it is not that manageable or easy to handle and has to be contained in some way. On the other hand, a fibre is a much more versatile material. It can be used in a range of material fabrics or made into yarns. These can then be employed in more specialist types of super absorbent markets.Technical Absorbents first developed its Super Absorbent Fibre  over 20 years ago.

The basic functionality of SAF is its ability to absorb rapidly up to 200 times its own weight in demineralized water and up to 60 times its own weight in saline water. SAF is white and odourless, and has the appearance and handling characteristic of a textile fibre. Consequently it can be used to produce a wide range of nonwoven and woven fabrics, and yarns.Paterson maintains that the origins of the company helped to provide Technical Absorbents with the expertise to develop these specialist products. “The company was originally a joint venture between Courtaulds and Allied Colloids in 1993,” he says. “Courtaulds was a specialist in spinning fibres, while Allied Colloids - now part of BASF- had the expertise in polymerization technology.

The skill is to get the polymer right in the first instance to provide the desired end-use properties, followed by the spinning expertise and finally the post-treatment processes. We now have 20 years' experience of developing super absorbent fibre products for specialist applications.SAF is a cross-linked poly acrylate polymer. Technical Absorbents says that this chemistry has been tested for its suitability in application areas requiring a high degree of toxicity and regulatory approval.We look at ourselves as a bespoke solutions provider, so we will make a specific solution to meet a customer's requirements,” adds Mark Paterson. “We can manufacture different kinds of super absorbent fibres for varying levels of absorbency, for example.

We can also vary machine processing conditions, basis weights and thicknesses to change the material properties. Finally, we can then make a number of different materials, such as yarns, felt fabrics, airlaid materials and a lot of different finished goods to meet the application requirement. This is all part of a development process. Using our expertise in a particular area, we can recommend what works best and can provide the customer with a product to test. They may then come back and request that it is a bit thicker, more absorbent or more permeable, for example, and we tailor a product to meet their needs.”

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