11. September 2017 | Clothtech

Air conditioner to wear

Electron micrograph showing the polyester nonwoven fabric coated with superabsorbers (75:1 magnification)
Source: BASF

The functional cooling textiles of the E.COOLINE and IDENIXX brands, incorporating the specially developed superabsorbent nonwoven fabric from BASF, offer 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. “The fibers 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,” explains the expert Norbert Heidinger of BASF New Business GmbH, who markets the material.

Like a fishing net, the polymer network of the superabsorber traps increasing numbers of water particles until its elastic restoring forces compensate the osmotic forces of the prevailing concentration gradient. In this way Luquafleece can absorb ten times its weight in water and retain it so firmly, that the functional textiles are dry on the surface.

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.

The duration of cooling by the innovative functional clothing is up to 20 hours.

edited by Petra Gottwald

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