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September 24, 2018


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Fabric University | Fabric Seminar | Fiber Characteristics | Actvated Carbon
Fiber Characteristics

ACTIVATED CARBON / CHARCOAL

Manufactured Fiber - activated carbon from cocoanut shell and other sources

CHARACTERISTICS:

  • Rapidly pulls moisture away from skin
  • Spreads the moisture across the surface of the fabric to increase evaporation and dry time
  • Attracts and traps odors, then releases trapped odors when washed
  • UPF 30+ to 50+ sun protection
  • Odor molecules are released
  • The benefits of carbon are refreshed with the heat from washing and drying

MAJOR END USES:

  • Apparel - knotwear, fleecewear, T-shirts, outerwear, men's shirts
  • Home Fashions/Furnishing - mattress ticking, rugs/doormats
  • Other - automotive upholstery, cleaning brushes, geotextiles (netting)

Background

In early usage, the coconut fiber was referred to as coir.  Although the earliest use of coir dates back as far as the 11th  Century A.D. in India where coir was used for ropes and cordage, recent production advancements of coconut shell activated carbon has made it a useful fiber for today’s performance apparel.  Coconut shell charcoal is the raw material used in the manufacture of activated carbon, a recycled sustainable material.  This new process utilizes only high quality coconuts with origins in Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines.  Activated carbon comes from the coconut husks, which is a waste product of the water filter industry, and is then refined through a scientific formula and production process to make the fiber.


Processing Activated Carbons  

The process of manufacturing activated carbon begins with the carbonization of coconut shell carbon to create the charcoal.  Any carbon material such as coconut shell, wood, or paddy husk can be used in this process, but the activated carbon manufactured from coconut shell is considered superior to other sources.  The small macrospores structure in coconut shell renders it more effective for the adsorption of gas / vapor.

The process of making activated carbons consists of crushing the coconut shell in a hammer mill to the required size, and then pulverizing in a ball mill. The shell powder is digested with zinc chloride.  The mass is then activated at elevated temperature, quenched and leached by diluted hydrochloric acid, and dried in a tray drier.  In the steam treatment activation process, the fully matured, dried, and cleaned coconuts are burned in the presence of a limited supply of air, sufficient enough to produce carbonization, a non-graphite form of carbon, which increases the adsorption properties.

Manufacturing Carbon Activated Fiber and Fabric

Activated carbon is used as a natural fiber enhancer that adds new performance qualities to blended yarns.  During the production of a polyester and an activated carbon blended fiber, a patented process is used to create a protective layer that coats the activated carbon. If no protective layer is used, the polyester will fill up the activated carbon pores when the polyester polymer is melted to make the fiber.  This can cause the deactivation of the activated carbon. During the yarn processing and fabric production, the method covers and protects the carbon fiber pores.  The final step in the fabric production removes this protective layer, exposing the activated carbon pores. Further fabric washing continues to remove this protective layer, exposing more of the activated carbon pores, and increasing the capacity for absorbency.  Typically, 40% to 50% of activated carbon in a blended yarn is adequate to create the activated carbon absorption benefits.

 

 

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