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Softer, Stronger Biopolymer Introduced for Hygiene Applications

Bio-based materials supplier NatureWorks has developed a softer, stronger biopolymer for hygiene applications. Ingeo 6500D for nonwovens also features improved fluid management when combined with a hydrophilic surface finish technology.

“Building on our expertise in bio-based nonwovens, we developed a product that, based on our rigorous testing, can improve the softness of spunbond nonwovens by 40% over nonwovens made with generic PLA,” said Robert Green, VP of Performance Polymers at NatureWorks. “The tensile strength of the new Ingeo solution offers improved processing for convertors [with] efficient low-basis-weight fabric production on the latest generation of spunbond equipment. We are looking forward to collaborating with the supply chain as we continue development of this new Ingeo solution in nonwoven applications, including diapers and wipes.”

When the material is combined with tailored topical treatments developed in partnership with fiber lubricant manufacturer Goulston Technologies, the result is lighter, thinner absorbent hygiene products that offer improved fluid management and breathability for better skin health, said NatureWorks. Ingeo’s inherent hydrophilic properties reportedly result in nonwovens that require less surface finish and are more durable than polypropylene. Significant improvements are also seen in both soak surface tension results and multiple strike performance, added the company.

NatureWorks’ Ingeo biopolymer has a 62% smaller carbon footprint than polypropylene in the manufacturing process alone. Ingeo materials are based on long-chain sugar molecules that are formed when plants capture and sequester CO2. The sugar is fermented to make lactic acid, which becomes the building block of an array of high-performance materials.

Samples of Ingeo 6500D spunbond nonwovens will be featured at INDEX in Geneva on April 18 to 21 (booth 1510) and Chinaplas in Shenzhen on April 17 to 20 (booth 20A01).

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