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Technical Absorbents (TAL) has developed a new inner-layer fabric incorporating its SAF superabsorbent fibres and aimed at keeping wearers of personal protective equipment like firefighters cool in the most challenging of environments.
Patent-pending KoolSorb will be introduced at the Emergency Services Show in Coventry, UK, later this year.
The fabric offers a significant advance in reducing wearer heat-stress and fatigue – while providing increased comfort and performance and initial prototype tabards have already been trialled by instructors at Lincolnshire Fire & Rescue in the UK.
“The main objective of KoolSorb was to create a washable coolant fabric using KoolSAF,” explains TAL business development manager Dave Hill. “This, coupled with the challenge of creating coolant undergarments that don’t rely on evaporation to activate the cooling process has been tough. However, the end result and feedback to date have been extremely positive, and we are now moving towards final fabric production.
“KoolSorb can be converted into a wide range of garments which are worn next to the skin under heavy clothing. The fabric stimulates the dissipation of heat and moisture through the rapid absorption and containment of body sweat.
“The material in touch with the skin remains relatively dry and conducts heat away from the hot areas of the body. This results in a cooling effect of up to 6°C for the wearer – directly reducing the risk of heat-stress. Garments made using this technology can also be laundered multiple times, which is an important factor.
Another key products is KoolEvap, a KoolSAF-containing absorbent nonwoven, employed in the design of three-layer absorption cooling fabrics. When soaked, the KoolEvap core holds and contains the water from which the evaporation occurs. The outer and inner layers can be tailored as required to suit garment design.
The final three-layer fabrics can be converted into many apparel forms which are designed to be worn over undergarments. The wearer pre-soaks the garment with water and through evaporation it provides the wearer with a cooling effect and again reduces the risk of heat-stress when working in hot conditions. Items made using this technology can be reused through multiple wetting and drying cycles.
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