Wacker presents new hydrophilic softener for textile finishing
The Munich-based chemical company has launched an innovative hydrophilic fabric softener for factory textile finishing. The new product, which is called Wetsoft NE 750, does not only improve the softness of textiles, but also retains the ability to absorb water.
The main constituents are block copolymers based on aminofunctional silicones and polyglycol. The silicone fluid segments arrange themselves in free-moving loops on the outside of the fabric and reduce friction between the fibers. This provides the fabric with an excellent soft feel, which even remains after washing. The polyglycol segments, on the other hand, ensure that the silicone finish, which is normally water-repellent, remains permeable to water.
The combination of softness and water absorbency is of crucial importance for high-quality textiles. Tests show that materials treated with Wetsoft NE 750 have a pleasant, soft and full hand feel while remaining absorbent. As a result, they quickly take up moisture from skin and hair. This is due to the fact that the emulsion penetrates to the core of the fabric, even when the fabric contains long pile fibers. Compared to conventional fabric softeners, the special molecular architecture facilitates water uptake and, at the same time, significantly increases absorbency. From a textile manufacturer’s point of view, it is important that subsequent textile corrections, such as re-dying of the material, can easily be made after the textile has been treated with the product.
The hydrophilic fabric softener is marketed as a water-free concentrate with a high solids content. The product is self-emulsifying and can be diluted with water in a ratio of 1:1 to 1:5 to form a stable emulsion. This makes the product easy to formulate. Users obtain a stable emulsion that combines the typical product benefits of a microemulsion and a macroemulsion. The hydrophilic fabric softener can be applied to towels, woven textiles or knitted fabrics by either exhaust or padding processes. Both cotton and blended fabrics containing polyester can be finished with the product.