Friday 29 June 2012

Softness and Stretch from Dow Chemicals

Gerd Claasen, Global Application and Technology Leader, Hygiene and Medical for Dow Chemicals (Switzerland) reviewed the routes to the softer and more elastic polymers needed to make softer and more elastic topsheets and backsheets.  The long term target was to allow underwear-style diapers to be made without elastication. 

Adding Dow’s Versify™ modifier to PP used on monocomponent spunbond lines allowed improved softness, drape and extensibility.  Further improvements followed making a bico spunbond with Dow’s Aspun™ polyethylene sheath, but the ultimate in softness came from spinning monocomponent Aspun™ spunbonds.  However Aspun™ nonwovens were a third the strength of PP, had poor abrasion resistance and a very narrow thermal bonding window.  

Improvements to Aspun™ to reduce degradation (chain scission) at high shear are sought.  Asked if there were any prototypes of elastic-free underwear style diapers, Mr Claasen said there weren’t.  The whole value chain had to get together with their best products before a prototype could be made.  He thought this was likely to happen first in adult incontinence where the user benefits directly from the extra comfort and discretion.

(from EDANA Middle East Symposium  - Dubai - 14th and 15th Feb 2012)

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