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Posted: August 11, 2008
Teijin Begins Commercial Production of Nanotechnolgoy Polyester Fiber
(Nanowerk News) Teijin Fibers Limited announced they will begin the commercial production of a high-strength polyester fiber called Nanofront™, developed in-house using original nanotechnology.
Nanofront is an ultra-fine fiber that is resistant to slippage, yet delicate and comfortable, while ensuring high absorbency and opaqueness. It is expected to be used for a wide range of applications, ranging from clothing to industrial materials.
The commercial production of Nanofront is aimed to ensure a more stable supply of the product, enabling its use in a wide array of applications for future products.
Background and purpose
The production of fine but strong fibers has always been the goal of synthetic fiber manufacturers throughout history. Many technologies were developed and during the 1990s, a micro-gauge fiber called "micro-fiber" was produced.
Today, increased expectations for nano-sized materials have spurred many firms to actively develop new types of nano-fibers. Minimizing the gauge of a fiber will enable new types of functionality in keeping with the "nano-size effect." Characteristics such as absorbency, separation, dispersal functioning and large surface area are common to nano-gauge materials.
However, when mass-production is attempted, nano-fibers tend to lose strength or have irregular fiber length. The successful commercialization of such long-fiber filaments has been elusive.
Teijin has developed the innovative "Sea/Island Cross-sectional Conjugate Fiber Forming Technology," successfully creating a commercially producible high-strength long polyester fiber called Nanofront. The technology involves the use of two distinct types of two polymers, one represented by the "sea" components and the other by the "island" components. A special type of alkaline processing is employed to melt the "sea" component away, leaving only the "island" portion, which remains as the fiber.
In a process of "sea/island conjugate fiber forming," commonly used microfiber only forms a few dozen island components in a single fiber. But Nanofront, on the other hand, forms some forms 1,000 island components in a single fiber by adopting the innovative "New Sea/Island Separatable Fiber Technology" based on a cap channel design technology and polymer technology that can create many island components in a sea/island cross section. Moreover, through the use of a high-performance polymer, it is easy to add various functions to Nanofront to enable the development of new product variations.
Ultra-fine long fiber with an unprecedented thickness of just 700 nanometers
Has strength comparable to regular long micro-fiber and long polyester fiber used for ordinary clothing
The surface is flat and even with almost no irregularity in fiber length
May be handled in the same way as regular polyester, and requires no restrictions in processing
Has a cooling function due to great absorbency, diffusion and water retention is made possible by the capillary "wicking" effect and moisture absorption properties
Has unprecedented softness for a synthetic fiber
By having surface area dozens of times greater than regular fiber, the nano-sized bumps on the fiber surface create a higher frictional force
Has great absorbency due to the fiber diameter smaller than oil film and minute dust particles
Has superior anti-transparency due to high light diffusion properties
High-performance undergarments, supporters and gloves that require good handling adhesion
Skincare products and undergarments that cause minimum skin friction
High-performance sports wear with cooling function thanks to superior moisture absorption and the wicking effect
Wiping and oil-blotting cloths that are highly absorbent
Polishing cloths that are very soft, but with a high frictional coefficient
Interior accessories, including curtains or uniforms, with high opaqueness
Brand name: Nanofront
Roll-out date: July 24, 2008
Main production facility: Teijin Fibers Matsuyama facility
Scale of production: 25 tons monthly
Future production plan: Initial productions of 100 tons monthly, aiming for 10 billion yen in yearly sales. Production will begin with 700 nanometer gauge fiber, with production of 300 nanometer gauge fiber considered in the future.
Teijin is a global technology-driven group operating in five main fields: synthetic fibers; films and plastics; pharmaceuticals and home health care; trading and retail; and IT and new products. Teijin Limited is listed on the Tokyo and Osaka stock exchanges and has a market capitalization of USD 4.1 billion. The company had consolidated sales of USD 10.3 billion in fiscal 2007, and employs approximately 19,000 people worldwide.