Kelheim Fibers, a leading manufacturer of viscose specialty fibers, has developed a new viscose fiber that reflects infrared (IR) radiation for thermal retention.
According to the company, the human body releases a large portion of its energy via thermal radiation (which is mainly made up of infrared light) and when that happens, the body cools off and loses energy.
The new viscose fiber contains IR-reflecting particles, which can significantly reduce this process. The thermal radiation emitting from the body is instead reflected by these particles and sent back to the body, reducing the cooling and keeping the person warm.
Mineral IR-reflecting particles are integrated into the fibers core, preserving the fiber’s natural qualities, rather than being added in a subsequent finish with additives based on titanium oxide. The effects of the new method are permanent and cannot be washed out.
Textiles with the integrated viscose fiber offer similar benefits to typical viscose fibers like comfort, softness and skin friendliness. Test results show the new fiber has produced significant temperature effects, compared to standard viscose fibers, opening up many opportunities for it in the fashion and textile industries.
Kelheim Fibers said if used in underwear, the thermal effect of the fiber can help increase the comfort of the wearer, even at low temperatures. If used in sportswear it can also improve the athlete’s performance and promote a faster regeneration due to improved blood circulation. Textiles and different nonwoven applications could also benefit from the fiber with innovations like warming shoe inserts.
“Comfortable feel-good clothes and functional special clothing are just two obvious applications for our new IR fiber,” Dr. Nina Kohne of Kelheim Fibres’ R&D team said.
Her colleague, Dr. Daniela Bauer, added: “We would be happy to adapt the fibre exactly to the demands of other applications depending on our customer’s specific needs. In the past, individual development partnerships often have proven very fruitful and we are glad when our customers reach out to us with their new ideas.”
The manufacturer is currently planning physical and psychological textile tests on the infrared (IR) radiation viscose fiber.