Quality Fabric Of The Month: The Fiber Of The Future

hell Chemicals, Houston, recently announced plans to license its revolutionary Corterra™ fibers for a variety of end-uses. According to the company, this is the material textile manufacturers have waited for.

Corterra is the trade name for Shell Chemical’s thermoplastic polytrimethylene terephthalate (PTT), which can be spun into both fibers and yarns.

It was first patented in 1941, but it was not until the 1990s, when Shell developed the low-cost method of producing high-quality 1,3 propanediol (PDO), the raw material for PTT, that commercial production of Corterra Polymers was possible.

According to the company, because PTT can be spun into both fibers and yarns, it can be used in a wide range of applications and end-uses, including carpet, textiles, engineering thermoplastic, films and nonwovens. R&D Magazine named Corterra Polymer to be one of the most technologically significant new products of 1998.

Corterra Fiber is the fiber of the future, and it’s here today,” said Mike Donahue, Shell’s textile business manager. “Once manufacturers see the options they have with Corterra Polymers, it will not be long before consumers will see garments made from Corterra fibers in stores around the world.”

With Corterra Fibers, apparel manufacturers can produce soft, comfort-fit clothing in vibrant colors and prints that wear well and have inherent stain and static resistance. These features, including the fibers’ wool-like feel, elastic recovery and resilience, will also make the fibers
appealing to carpet manufacturers.


Models hit the streets of Paris during the recent ITMA exhibition to show off apparel made
with Shell’s Corterra Fibers.

ITMA Impact

At the recent ITMA show in Paris, Shell Chemicals displayed some of the 25 different fabrics and 100 garments made with Corterra Fibers by manufacturers from around the world, including KoSa, Houston; SK Chemicals, Korea; and Hualon, Taiwan.

Sulzer Textil, Switzerland, ran trials with yarn made from Corterra Fibers and cotton on a weaving loom. Three knitting machine manufacturing companies, all part of the Lonati Group, Italy, ran material made from Corterra Fibers on circular knitting machines.

Looking To The Future

According to Shell Chemicals, demand for PTT is expected to exceed 2.2 billion pounds by 2010.

Catalana de Polimers (CdP), Spain, working with Shell Chemicals, recently completed production trials and announced it will be ready to supply materials made from Corterra Polymers to the European market by the fourth quarter of 1999.

Shell Chemical recently announced that the Corterra Polymer marketing organization will combine the technical, marketing and manufacturing skills of Shell Chemicals with KoSa, focusing immediately on marketing Corterra as polymers, fibers and yarns in the carpet, home furnishings,
apparel, automotive and industrial sectors of North and South America.

“We know that Corterra Fibers can compete head-to-head in the carpet industry with traditional nylon materials on price and performance measures,” said Terry Gibbons, business development director for KoSa’s Textile Fibers business.

“I believe that Corterra Fibers an deliver a better combination of product features than any
material today.”

For more information, visit the Corterra Polymers website at www.corterra.com and the Shell
Chemicals website at www.shellchemicals.com

August 1999