Leading PLA producer NatureWorks has announced the development of a durable hydrophilic formulation offering improved fluid management and increased breathability for absorbent hygiene applications such as nappies, adult incontinence, and feminine hygiene products. The company says that use of the Ingeo-based nonwoven fabric for the topsheet can reduce the use of super absorbent polymer (SAP) or pulp by up to 30 percent for thinner, more comfortable, and cost-effective products.
The technology is said to deliver higher performance than polypropylene in fluid management metrics that are ‘key to delivering superior skin health’, according to Aman Kulshrestha, Ph.D., Principal Scientist, NatureWorks.
Compared to polypropylene, the passage of fluid through the Ingeo nonwoven system is faster and more sustained, as measured by both strike-through and run-off. They resist re-wet two times better than polypropylene. Significantly less surface finish is needed on the fabric compared to polypropylene, which decreases the potential for skin irritation. Moreover, the system is completely biobased.
The hydrophilic formulation delivers improved aging characteristics that prolong hygiene product shelf life. Additionally, melt spinning and calendering optimization studies showed that a range of fabric improvements are possible to improve softness, tensile strength, and elongation in Ingeo nonwovens. The system can be tailored to provide the specific properties required for a customer’s application.
The company is hoping to partner with manufacturers and brands in North America, Asia, and Europe that are looking to enhance their hygiene products through these custom structures.