Application of contemporary fibres in apparels

COCONUT SHELL ® FIBRE - COCONA
he coconut tree is known as “The tree of life.” Coconut meat, milk and oil have been widely used in products like suntan lotion, cooking, oil, medicine, water and air filters. In textile also, coir is very popular which is extracted from the husk of coconut and used in products such as floor mats, doormats, brushes, mattresses etc. Now, the finest quality of activated carbon comes from coconut shells to provide superior dry times, odour adsorption and UV protection on a wide range of product applications. The Cocona® material is a natural fabric enhancer that is produced from activated carbon from coconut shells, which is infused into the textile fibre by Cocona Inc. patent method. The activated carbon is derived from coconut husks; it is a “waste” product of the water filter industry and is known since immemorial times to absorb poisons and odours. Activated carbon has a huge absorbing area — one gram of it has a surface area the size of two tennis court. This activated carbon is infused into natural fibres like cotton, wool and synthetic fibres like polyester, nylon, etc, which is then blended with other fibres to create performance fabrics
History of coconut shell fibre
Cocona®, TrapTek LLC's patented innovative technology that incorporates activated carbon derived from recycled coconut shells into fibres and yarns, has received accolades as a natural, sustainable technology. The technology was developed in 2002 by Gregory W Haggquist, Ph. D. the Longmont, Colo. based company's founder and made its consumer market debut in 2006 in knitted cycling apparel developed by United Knitting, Cleveland, Tenn., and Bethel, Conn.-based Cannondale Bicycle Corp.

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Technology of coconut shell fibre
Cocona’s outstanding features are due to the fact that the surface of the activated carbon has a pore structure. The pores absorb odour molecules at the same time as enabling the moisture to escape from the skin’s surface and absorb into the sock more quickly than normal due to the large surface area. Yarn made with Cocona® has a surface area that is upto 10 times larger than conventional polyester yarn. The Cocona® technology imbeds activated carbon from coconut shells into polyester or nylon polymers. The coconut shells, recycled waste from the food industry, are burned at 300°C followed by a 1,000°C steam-activation process. The activated carbon is used for water and air filtration, wastewater treatment, and other such industries. The microscopic, ultra-fine particles that are too small for those applications are just what TrapTek needs to incorporate into its fibre and yarn.

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Characteristics of coconut shell fibre
Cocona® fabrics offer superior comfort and enhanced performance in a variety of clothing applications. Cocona® fabric provides protection from harmful UV rays; successfully manage odours, static, and moisture. Independent laboratory tests measuring the amount of time a wet fabric takes to dry at room temperature, fabrics made with Cocona® dried significantly faster than other leading moisturewicking fabrics including polyester (50 per cent faster), cotton (92 per cent faster), and bamboo (96 per cent faster). Fabrics made with Cocona® yarns and fibres are inherently lightweight, comfortable, and easy-care. Activated carbon has been used for centuries to purify drinking water and to absorb toxins. When incorporated into yarns and fibres, it creates a fabric that provides highly effective evaporative cooling, odour control, and superior UV protection, upto 50+UPF (the highest possible rating). Because Cocona® technology is inside the fibre; it cannot wash off or wear out like ordinary surface treatments to fabrics.

UV Test
Garments made with CoconaTM fabric provide up to 50UPF, 2.5x more protection than ordinary polyester!

The distinctive benefits of Cocona® fabric include:
• Evaporative cooling - Cocona® fabrics dry faster providing increased comfort while reducing the amount of time and energy required drying garments after washing. Activated carbon embedded within the yarn of woven and knitted fabrics wicks moisture away from the skin and transports it to the fabric surface for rapid evaporation. Cocona® fabric’s powerful moisture management properties provide a 50 per cent increase in moisture transfer compared to standard polyester • Odour adsorption - Activated carbon embedded within the yarns and fibres absorbs a wide range of odour molecules. Odours emanating from the wearer, inherent in the fabric, and present in the surrounding environment are attracted to and trapped within the pores of the carbon, to keep the clothing fresher longer, and reducing the need for daily washing. Odour molecules are released and the carbon renewed when the fabric is washed and dried • Durable - Cocona® performance is permanently embedded in the yarn and will not wash out. Cocona® clothing lasts longer than items made from other organic fabrics such as pure cotton or bamboo • Comfort - Clothes made using Cocona® yarn are available in all weights for items that feel softer, stay fresher, and wear more comfortably than other fabrics Moisture Management Wash Durable

UV protection

Environmental benefits of coconut shell fibre
Cocona® technology utilises recycled coconut shells that would have gone to landfills. Suppliers convert the coconut shells into activated carbon, primarily for the air and water filtration industries. Cocona® uses the particles that are too small to use in water and air filters, apply their processes and then combine it with other fabrics. While this is not a completely “green” process it is much better than using chemicals to treat the materials.

Odour Resistant
Wide comfort Range

UV Protection Active Natural Particles

Applications of coconut shell fibre
Apparel made from the fibre helps spread and evaporate surface moisture rapidly, making it perfect for sportswear, undergarments, golf apparel and other active applications. Cocona® fibres are used in garments ranging from shirts, pants, shorts, outerwear, underwear, footwear, travel wear and tank tops.

Fig: Cocona® enhances the performance of above products largely

Comparison with antimicrobial/antibacterial fabrics Cocona - activated carbon • Activated carbon is usually derived from charcoal. • Cocona is derived from coconut husk. • There are 20 billion coconuts produced annually. • Activated carbon has a huge surface area, and is highly porous. • One gram has a surface area of around 500 m2/g or the size of two tennis courts. • It grabs stole odours through adsorption to its porous surface. • It uses evaporative cooling to move moisture (sweat) away from the skin. • Activated carbon also blocks out harmful UV radiation. • Carbon is activated either chemically or steam. It can be reactivated in tumble drying. • The activated carbon finish is locked into the fibre polymer prior to spinning.

Antimicrobial/antibacterial fabrics
Treatments wash out over time and lose their effectiveness Not effective against existing odours (smoke odours, body odours, etc.) Strict government regulations (FIFRA, EPA) Chemicals kill all bacteria; good and bad Products vary in effectiveness

Cocona® fabrics
Carbon is renewed during regular machine wash and dry cycle Odour molecules are adsorbed onto the surface of the activated carbon Activated carbon is free of all government regulations All natural - activated carbon is made from coconut shells All fabrics are tested and certified

APPAREL VIEWS / JULY 2011

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Products made from Cocona® fibre

Caring for coconut shell fibre
Cocona’s good features can never wash out from garment as these are natural features from the activated carbon. In fact, with every wash, the features of garment will be reactivated. It’s important not to use scented products as well as softener as these clogs the pores. To achieve the highest performance, wash these garments over 40 degrees and use tumble drying. The drying time in a tumble drier decrease with 35 per cent with a Cocona ® garment compared to a similar material in polyester, this will save 22 per cent in energy. As compare to cotton or a bamboo product, a Cocona® product use 52 per cent less energy to dry the garment.

Conclusion
Nowadays everyone is becoming more environmentally aware, trying to be carbon neutral, buying organic, and minimising their impact on the environment. Using the active carbon is a new concept of using a natural technology in order to give sport fabrics several new features without adding chemicals. By working innovatively and provide the market with new and exciting concept creates more business opportunities for retailers, while allowing users to better clothes
By Vasant R Kothari Assistant Professor, NIFT, Bangalore (Author can be contacted @ www.vasantkothari.com)

Brands using coconut shell fibre for their products
Over 50 brands are utilising Cocona® fibres in sports and active wear including Eddie Bauer, Cutter & Buck, Izod, New Balance, Marmot, GoLite, Oakley, Patagonia and Cannondale.

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