Teijin Fibers Ltd, the core company of the Teijin Group’s polyester fibers business, announced today that it has developed a new polyester fabric that remains gentle to human skin by stably maintaining its mildly acidic pH level, similar to healthy skin. At launch, it will be the world’s first commercial polyester material to offer pH control, according to the manufacturer.
Teijin Fibers will begin selling the new fabric in time for spring and summer 2012 sportswear product manufacturing; it also will be marketed for general apparel and other applications. The fabric will be exhibited at two international sports trade shows in the near future: Outdoor Retailer in Salt Lake City, U.S.A. from January 20 to 23, and ISPO in Munich, Germany, from February 6 to 9.
Teijin achieved the fabric’s mild acidity by modifying the polyester polymer, rather than adhering agents to fibers, to enable it to maintain its pH level stably after repeated washing and wear, while also maintaining polyesterâ€™s superior characteristics such as water-absorption and quick-drying properties. The fabric is expected to meet growing consumer demands for clothing with value-added properties such as gentleness to skin, odor prevention, antibacterial properties and stain resistance.
Currently, fabrics that possess these properties use agents that are adhered to their fibers through post-processing treatment, which can lead to low functionality, limited durability and a loss of original texture over time. Fabrics offering pH control have been limited to water-absorbing (hydrophilic) fibers, such as cotton and rayon, neither of which sufficiently promotes the rapid drying of large amounts of perspiration, a basic requirement of high-performance sportswear.
The skin of a healthy person generally is mildly acidic, but can become more alkaline due to sweating (summer) or drying (winter). The continuance of either condition for very long can result in odors and stains due to destructive bacteria which in turn can lead to increased susceptibility to the damaging effects of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Teijin Fibers modified the polyester polymer, which is intrinsically hydrophobic (neutral), to create localized hydrophilic properties and mild acidity on the fiber’s surface. As a result, the new fabric maintains its mildly acidic pH level even when the wearer is perspiring.