Kelheim Fibres GmbH, Germany, has developed Olea, an intrinsically water-repellent viscose fiber.
According to the company, a water-repellency additive derived from renewable materials is
incorporated into the viscose fiber’s matrix during the spinning process to provide permanent
hydrophobicity without affecting the fiber’s characteristic properties. The resulting fiber is
soft, comfortable, skin-friendly and fully biodegradable.
Olea has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval, and is suitable for hygiene and
food applications, Kelheim reports. It also has potential sportswear and other functional textile
“Olea is an environmentally friendly alternative for the cover- and back-sheets of hygiene
products,” 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.”