Germany-based specialty fiber manufacturer Kelheim Fibres GmbH has developed Olea, an intrinsically
water-repellent viscose fiber.
The company reports it is able to retain the viscose fiber’s characteristic properties by
incorporating the water repellency additive into the fiber’s matrix during the spinning process,
thereby producing a durable, permanent hydrophobic effect. The resulting fiber is soft, comfortable
and skin-friendly, according to Kelheim, and also is fully biodegradable, as the water-repellent
additive is made of renewable materials.
Kelheim also reports the additive in Olea has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration, making the fiber particularly suitable for demanding food and hygiene applications.
“Olea is an environmentally friendly alternative for the cover — and back-sheets of hygiene
products — for example nappies, sanitary towels or incontinence pads,” said Philipp Wimmer, Ph.D.,
a member of Kelheim’s R&D team. “In order to protect the wearer’s skin, these sheets need to
remain dry while they facilitate the transport of liquid away from the skin.”
Kelheim is testing Olea for textile applications and reports it is showing promise especially
for sportswear and other functional textile applications.
February 12, 2013