Interesting application of plasma treatment of modern sportswear

Plasma treatment of modern sportswear

Feature Article - Plasma treatment of modern sportswear

Interesting application of plasmas to modern sportswear

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Production scale plasma modification of polypropylene baselayer for improved water management properties

Gulnara Fauland, Floriana Constantin, Hossain Gaffar, Thomas Bechtold; Research Institute of Textile Chemistry and Textile Physics, Leopold-Franzens-University Innsbruck, Hochsterstraße 73 A-6850, Dornbirn, Austria
V-Trion GmbH, Schwefelbadstrasse 2, A-6845, Hohenems, Austria Leopold-Franzens-University Innsbruck is a member of EPNOE—European Polysaccharide Network of Excellence,
Gulnara Fauland undertook analytical characterization and material testing, Floriana Constantin undertook data interpretation and article revision, Hossain Gaffar undertook the full scale plasma processing and Thomas Bechtold planned the experimental design, contributed to data interpretation, and article preparation. Correspondence to: T. Bechtold (E-mail:


Through its hydrophobic properties, polypropylene (PP) offers unique potential as a functional fiber for a wide range of applications, for example, in nonwovens for hygiene applications or as a   baselayer in sports textiles. Current work is focused on the modification of PP presently used in baselayers for sports textiles to increase the hydrophilicity by use of a production scale plant for low pressure plasma treatment. Attention was directed toward an increase in hydrophilicity and time stability of the achieved modification during storage. Changes in the fabric were characterized by sorption of the cationic dye (methylene blue), water retention value, water transport properties, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and color measurement. The obtained results indicate an improved wettability and wicking. The extent of modification decreased wi th storage time and parallel yellowing of treated samples was observed. This indicates chemical rearrangement of the  products initially formed on the fiber surface.
VC 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2015, 132, 41294. Received 31 May 2014; accepted 11 July 2014 DOI: 10.1002/app.41294


  • manufacturing
  • properties and characterization
  • textiles
Lightweight fabrics that form polypropylene (PP) hold a specific position in the design of functional sport s clothing. Favorable transport and cooling properties can be achieved when the hydrophobic
PP is used as a baselayer and the fabric is in direct contact with the skin. Good mechanical and chemical properties such as low specific weight (0.91 g cm 23), high fiber strength (42–53 cN tex 21) and
good resistance to acids and alkali make the material well suited for textile production. However, the low surface energy (28–30 mN m 21) of the hydrocarbon polymer results in poor wettability (0.05% at 20C) and difficult wet processing in textile dyeing and finishing. 1The low surface energy forms the physical basis for the application of PP as a functional fiber; W ith low binding capacity for sweat, PP demonstrated its almost unique ability to spread sweat between the skin and the baselay er PP-fabric. Thus, PP based materials are widely used as functional baselayers, which exhibit high cooling capacity and rapid drying properties.
Improved, spontaneous distribution of sweat between the skin and fabric from the modification of the surface properties of the PP-fabric to increase surface energy would be desirable. Scientific models for sweat transportation and drying of PP baselayer fabrics show that modification of the fiber toward more hydrophilic behavior could lead to further improvement in functionality.
As a result of the low polarity of PP-fibers and limited temperature stability options for wet textile processing in aqueous media is rather limited, for example, technical dyeing or chemical modification of PP in aqueous media still require improved solutions. Thus, plasma processing of PP-based materials has been studied extensively, as this dry process can be used to achieve a wide range of surface modifications. 2,3 The influence of different process gases in the plasma atmosphere on the hydrophilization of PP-nonwovens has been reported in the literature.
Additional Supporting Information may be found in the online version of this article. VC 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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Production scale plasma modification of polypropylene baselayer for improved water management properties

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