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New solution for sustainable water repellence helps brands deliver protection without compromise

The shift to nonfluorinated durable water repellents (DWRs) is gaining momentum.

Top outdoor, sportswear and apparel brands—from Patagonia and The North Face to adidas, H&M, Levi’s and Zara—have been moving away from the use of perfluorochemicals (PFCs) in DWR finishes for weather protection and stain resistance for several years. In parallel, PFCs have increasingly been targeted in industry standards like bluesign® and Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) and regulated in new legislation in the EU, US and China.

Even so, the transition has not been without challenges. As the chemistry has shifted from long-chain C8 PFCs to short-chain C6 PFCs and now to fluorine-free “C0” technologies, brands have had to contend with unwanted impacts on the functionality and longevity of the finished product.

two people backpacking outdoors

Drawing on Huntsman Textile Effects’ research expertise and global operational experience, our PHOBOTEX® range has steered the industry towards high-performance fluorine-free solutions since 2010, when we introduced PHOBOTEX® R. A comprehensive range of PFC-free water-repellent products, PHOBOTEX® R offers brands different chemistries to specifically protect a wide variety of textile end-uses—from tents to table cloths, school uniforms to ski wear—against rain and everyday stains.

In 2017, we launched PHOBOTEX® RSY for extreme DWR performance on synthetic textiles. Now, in 2022, we have released PHOBOTEX® R-ACE to deliver excellent PFC-free water repellence and trouble-free production on synthetic and cellulosic fibers.

PHOBOTEX® R-ACE offers outstanding rain and splash protection for garments that are waterproof and windproof, even under the toughest conditions, making it ideal for high-performance outdoor and extreme sports apparel. It also repels everyday stains, such as mud, coffee, ketchup and juice, so that garments stay cleaner for longer.

A woman running

Crucially, the robust chemistry of PHOBOTEX® R-ACE achieves this high repellency using significantly less chemical added on to the fabric as compared to the typical PFC-free DWRs in the market. This helps mills minimize unwanted concerns like chalk marks, seam slippage issues and harsh handle. As a result, textiles treated with PHOBOTEX® R-ACE are breathable, retain their soft handle and continue to look good and perform well through repeated laundering and drying.

PHOBOTEX® R-ACE also optimizes production flow, with best-in-class runability for faster trouble-free production and good reproducibility. Excellent compatibility with resin finishing ensures even application with unmatchable performance on cellulosic fibers.

Furthermore, PHOBOTEX® R-ACE is formaldehyde-free, as well as free from 2-Butanone oxime, which has recently been re-classified in Europe and will be restricted above a strict limit in products under bluesign® from end-2022.

Taken together, this means that brands now have a smoother path to efficiently meet growing worldwide demand for garments that deliver high-performance weather protection and stain-resistance with improved sustainability.

Kerim Oner, Global Marketing Manager – Finishing, Huntsman Textile Effects

#Sustainability #Innovation