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Advanced polymers innovate the clothing industry

From the first synthetic fabrics of the 30s-40s to the refined polymers for today's clothing: the polymeric raw materials used for clothes and accessories have undergone great changes. In search of advanced features, more and more attention is paid to practicality, breathability, and lightness.

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First of all, fabrics are required to be sustainable. It is essential to minimize the environmental impact in each production phase with attention to the low use of resources and recyclability.

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Direct contact with the skin, used to protect or isolate, the fabrics must reliably respond to the functional tasks for which they were created. Health and life itself can depend on them.

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In addition to the functional aspect, clothes and accessories are an identity factor, the story of who we are. The production must satisfy fashions and trends in terms of colours, appearance, variety of applications.

Polyester, if used in fibres of entirely synthetic origin, is used in technical garments for sport or work; if coupled with natural fibres it improves wearability and performance.

In the sports and leisure sector, Covestro polymer raw materials are divided into coatings and adhesives, thermoplastic polyurethanes, polycarbonates, foams, elastomers, and films. They offer solutions for a wide range of applications including footwear, sports equipment, glasses, functional fabrics, and synthetic leather.

The choice not to use solvents makes textile production easier and more eco-friendly.

The production cycle attentive to sustainability and the choice of high-quality polymers gives rise to final products:

  • ecological: the low CO2 emission with the use of aqueous bases and the long duration minimize the environmental impact.
  • versatile: the final appearance combined with resistance makes them perfect in every sector of clothing: from casual fashion to sport
  • comfortable:elasticity and softness are maintained in a wide range of temperatures from freezing to hot
  • innovative: Covestro laboratories offer support to experiment and create specific products for different production needs.

Fabrics become more functional with polyurethane films

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Membrane films and thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) coatings for the textile industry are breathable and ultra-thin. They have hydrophilic properties with an excellent level of permeability to water vapor molecules and together they are wind resistant and waterproof against rain and snow. Particularly popular in the sports field for mountain clothing, the new polyurethane coatings are also used in an everyday casual fashion. The features developed by Covestro laboratories bring flexibility, comfort and excellent seams hold. Palettes and prints are possible with colours that remain bright over time and resist abrasions.

Work fabrics: safety first

For clothing, footwear and work gloves, perspiration and resistance to abrasions and harmful or corrosive substances are essential characteristics. The membrane films have been designed to give work devices resistance to external agents and at the same time maximum breathability. All in as thin as possible, flexible and efficient in a wide range of temperatures, to always give freedom of movement.

Hot melt adhesive films where strong fabrics are needed

For all areas where it is necessary to obtain coupled or coated fabrics, hot melt adhesive films are particularly suitable, which can glue or laminate heterogeneous fabrics. In both the domestic and professional fields, Covestro hot melt adhesives have exceptional quality in combining different types of materials and have:

  • good resistance to detergents
  • high resistance to fats, oils, fuels
  • ease of processing even with conventional methods.

Shoes and footwear: polyurethanes and high-performance adhesives

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With thermoplastic polyurethanes, both parts of the shoe such as profiles, soles and uppers and rigid uppers for specific sectors are obtained. Whether hiking boots or ski boots, leisure shoes or running shoes, Covestro polyurethanes can create lightweight components that remain beautiful for a long time because they resist UV rays, abrasions, scratches, tears, and shocks.

A critical part of the shoe is the adhesives that hold together the different pieces that make up a shoe. Covestro for this need has in its catalog water-based ecological adhesives or systems with solvents with one and two components.

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Bonding soles with 3D printing

The newly developed thermoplastic polyurethane adhesive can be applied digitally with a 3D printer to weld the sole to the upper. Adhesive filaments can also be used which make the process particularly quick and efficient because with solid filaments the drying process can be avoided.

Creation of ultra-resistant sports shoes with thermoplastic polyurethanes

Thermoplastic polyurethanes are ideal for sports shoes that must be particularly robust, such as ski boots, inline skates, ice hockey boots, trekking boots. Just in extreme sports and in those that take place on the ice, Covestro TPU is particularly suitable because it is possible to obtain a flexible and shock-resistant upper and hull at low temperatures. It is a versatile material that has adaptable modeling characteristics such as to achieve the desired projects and models. Low weight, stable and comfortable fit, high resistance to scratches and tearing are the technical characteristics that make it appreciated by consumers and manufacturers in the footwear sector.

Synthetic textures that become ecological leather for shoes and bags

With water-based polyurethane, Covestro laboratories have created synthetic fabrics and coatings that imitate the skin and have many of its functional characteristics. They are durable, have little odor and are comfortable and light to the touch. Perfect for sports shoes but also clothing, accessories, and furnishings or car interiors.

These are high-quality fabrics and very resistant to abrasions, cuts, and UV rays. Sustainability makes these polyurethane fabrics suitable for ecological production where products of non-animal origin are required. Covestro laboratories are always willing to collaborate with designers and manufacturers who are looking for answers to the different needs of a market that is becoming more complex and differentiated.

Polyurethane for goggles and protective devices

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Glasses, frames, visors have a wide range of applications: from leisure to sports, from work to mobility on wheels. At all these times, polymeric raw materials with specific quality and certified performance are required.

Sturdy, reliable and fashionable glasses

The quality polycarbonate combines the correct optical properties with characteristics such as lightness and comfort, necessary for making ski goggles, diving goggles or elegant sunglasses. The eyes are protected and safe with the polymeric material with high mechanical resistance. Together with an anti-fog film and a polarizer, protection and visibility are obtained even in the presence of humidity and the necessary protection from UV rays.

Professional eye protection devices

In the case of visors and glasses for the protection of the eyes in a professional context or as visors of helmets, Covestro produces a polycarbonate with optimal mechanical resistance. It also withstands extreme conditions such as chemical aggression, impacts, and abrasions, and is not affected by sweat and fats.