Tokyo-based Teijin Fibers Ltd. has developed a polyester fabric that features an inherent, slightly
acidic pH level similar to that of healthy skin. According to the company, the fabric, tentatively
called ECOPURE, is the first commercially available polyester material that offers pH control.
Targeted uses are high-performance sportswear as well as general apparel and other applications.
In contrast to the typical method of applying a finish to the fabric to incorporate
performance properties, Teijin has modified polyester polymer by creating localized hydrophilic
properties and mild acidity on the surface of the fiber, which is inherently hydrophobic. The
company reports the characteristic is permanent and does not affect other inherent properties of
the polymer. Teijin further notes that other fibers that offer pH control, such as hydrophilic
cotton and rayon, are not as quick-drying as polyester and therefore are less suited for use in
Ecopure works in several ways to promote cleanliness, according to Teijin. The fabric’s mild
acidity can selectively control growth of bacteria that cause odors and dry, rough skin, while
promoting beneficial bacterial growth and thereby maintaining skin health. The hydrophilic
properties enable absorption of perspiration, and the mild acidity neutralizes the alkaline
components of perspiration, such as ammonia, further preventing odor development in the garment.
The hydrophilic surface also enables removal of sebum-based stains by washing, which also minimizes
bacterial growth. Finally, by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria on the skin, the mild
acidity helps protect the body from ultraviolet rays.
Teijin will launch Ecopure at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, to be held January 20 to 23
in Salt Lake City, and at ISPO, to be held February 6 to 9 in Munich, Germany.
January 11, 2011