It’s been an innovative year for textiles as many in the industry look to develop new fabrics and technologies with greater performance capabilities and a smaller impact on the environment.
The FabricLink network has recognized the most innovative of those textile-based materials and technologies that launched in the last year (and are commercially available) in its Top 10 Innovation Awards for 2017-18.
According to FabricLink, a trade-to-consumer online resource for textile education and product promotion, the Top 10 Textile Innovations range from an ultra-lightweight fabric that NASA will use for the next Mars landing, to regenerative polyester and nylon fabrics upcycled from discarded fishing nets and bottles from the ocean. The innovators are also given recognition for originality that improves or advances the finished product applications and performance.
These are the Top 10 Textile Innovations 2017-2018, a group of products set to advance apparel in the coming years.
1. Ahlstrom-Munksjö PureArmor, a breathable impervious fabric that combines superior protection with comfort for blood-borne pathogen and clean room apparel protection. The fabric is designed to be soft, strong and highly breathable to protect both the wearer and the working environments in sensitive areas like cleanrooms.
2. Cordura Brand, DuPont Tate & Lyle’s Susterra and DuPont Sorona, which fuel innovation with a new three-layer eco-efficient fabric. DuPont scientists developed a way to produce bio-based propanediol that became a building block to create the biotechnology behind the Sorona and Susterra brand materials used in Cordura soft-shell high-performance, durable fabrics.
3. Eastman Naia Cellulosic yarn, a versatile yarn that combines sustainability and performance with a natural touch, plus a light, silky hand with a hypoallergenic nature. Made from wood pulp derived exclusively from sustainably managed and certified forests, Eastman Naia cellulosic yarn is manufactured in a closed loop system and has moisture management stain-resistant qualities.
4. FilSpec Inc.’s FireFil, a new engineered yarn containing a glass multifilament core yarn that is flame-resistant, cut-resistant and tear-resistant, offering triple protection to firefighters and industrial workers. The new yarn uses an innovative spinning technology and inserts the glass multi-filament into the center of the yarn, the outside of which is a high-performance textile fiber designed to make the yarn more effective.
5. Heathcoat Fabrics’ DecelAir Superlight, a new range of super lightweight parachute fabrics, will be used on the next Mars Rover landing. The fabric, which weighs 20 grams per square meter (gsm), is among the lightest parachute fabric solutions available on the market.
6. Lubrizol’s fast-drying X4zol-J fiber technology takes apparel comfort and fit to the next level, combining 360-degree stretch and support with breathability and cooling properties. Lubrizol X4zol-J is a new elastomeric monofilament that is manufactured through solvent-free melt extrusion, which is a cleaner process that produces a finer and stronger elastomeric fiber than traditional spandex.
7. “From Waste to Yarn,” Paltex’s regeneration system that collects discarded fishing nets and plastic bottles from the ocean that are then recycled to produce regenerative polyester and nylon fabrics. The company’s Closed Loop Recycling System for polyester products uses up 20 percent of the energy, and emits equal amounts of carbon into the environment compared to former polyester production.
8. Safety Components’ Filament Twill Technology, a new innovative fabric construction used to produce lighter, stronger, more flexible textiles for firefighter turnout gear. The fabrics, combined with more ergonomic garment designs have changed performance capabilities for firefighters thats to the greater ease of movement.
9. Honeywell’s Spectra Centurion, a composite fabric made of a high-performance material designed to make law enforcement apparel and equipment 40 percent lighter by eliminating stitching, extra fabric and webbing on plate carriers for body armor. Spectra fiber is one of the world’s strongest manmade fibers, according to the company, and it has been used to produce bullet-resistant body armor.
10. Teijin Aramid’s Twaron ComForte SB3 is one of the lightest ballistic protection fabrics for body armor available, according to FabricLink. The body armor is lighter than what’s been standard and more flexible, allowing greater performance for law enforcement and military personnel.