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Microencapsulation: for enhanced textile performance
published in Issue 12, 1st Quarter 2005
Microencapsulation of liquids and solids is an innovative micropackaging technology which is opening up new marketing opportunities for performance apparel markets. Microencapsulation involves the production of microcapsules which act as tiny containers of solids or liquids. These containers release their core contents under controlled conditions to suit a specific purpose. The microcapsules are produced by depositing a thin polymer coating on small solid particles or liquid droplets, or on dispersions of solids in liquids. The core contents—the active substance—may be released by friction, by pressure, by diffusion through the polymer wall, by dissolution of the polymer wall coating, or by biodegradation.
Although microencapsulation methods have been in existence since the 1940s it was not until the 1980s and 1990s that applications for textiles were developed. The technique has made considerable progress in the fields of phase-change materials for thermoregulation, in aromatherapy, and in the controlled release of fragrances. A new field is opening up for cosmeto-textiles which are capable of imparting skin care benefits, combating ageing, and promoting a feeling of wellness or well-being. Thermochromic and photochromic dyes have been used to make garments which change colour when they are exposed to temperature changes or sunlight. Anti-microbial and deodorising finishes offer great potential for freshness retention during wear for intimate apparel, and for garments worn during periods of strenuous activity. The controlled release of active substrates also offers opportunities in the medical textiles field. Insect-repellent and insect-resist treatments demonstrate higher levels of performance if microencapsulated. Flame retardant finishes could be microencapsulated to improve the durability of the treatment to leaching, domestic washing and dry cleaning. There is also greater interest in developing substantially enhanced chemical protection for the military and other users, particularly for chemical decontamination of hazardous chemicals and chemical warfare agents.
Four times a year, Performance Apparel Markets provides an overview of the sector for performance apparel and corporatewear. It provides market data and analysis of new and established markets for performance fibres, fabrics and clothing, and is essential reading for executives who are working in (or supplying) this fast growing sector. It is also an invaluable one-stop-shop where people who are not involved in the industry on a day-to-day basis can find an authoritative source of relevant information which helps them to quickly gain an understanding of the key issues facing the companies in this sector.
Reports in Performance Apparel Markets include:
reports on major developments in the global performance apparel market, focusing on new products and technologies, innovative fibres and key players;
detailed, independently-researched reports on one of the following topics: antimicrobial fibres and fabrics, anti-static technology, flame resistant fibres and fabrics, high strength fibres and fabrics, high visibility apparel, microencapsulation, moisture management fabrics, performance swimwear, seamless knitting and stitch-free seaming technologies, smart and interactive textiles, stain protective apparel, stretch fibres and fabrics, surfwear and surf-inspired clothing, temperature regulation, UV protective fibres and fabrics, and waterproof breathable fabrics;
company profiles, outlining the business, product, market and manufacturing strategies employed by key players in the performance apparel industry; and
business news and developments affecting global performance apparel markets, majoring on innovations, mergers and acquisitions, investments, joint ventures, and financial performances.
Performance apparel represents one of the fastest growing sectors of the international textile and clothing industry – and market growth is being fuelled by the emergence of new fibres, new fabrics and innovative process technologies. The market is also being boosted by changes in consumer lifestyles. People are living longer and spending more time on leisure activities. New high-tech fabrics are being developed for a wide range of active sports such as aerobics, athletics, ballooning, cycling, hiking, mountaineering, parachuting, sailing, skiing, snowboarding, swimming, and windsurfing.
Exciting innovations are emerging in smart textiles and nanotechnology – and the sector’s growth prospects are helped by the trend in increasing demand for performance features in mainstream fashion.
Performance Apparel Markets is available on subscription – either in printed format only, or in printed and electronic format. If you choose the printed only option, you will receive 4 printed publications a year. Each issue contains five reports (as above).
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A subscription to Performance Apparel Markets will support your decision making, and provide the information you need to expand into new markets.