Super Absorbent Fibre (SAF) manufacturer Technical Absorbents (TAL) has been working on a new fabric technology—incorporating SAF—that is aimed at keeping the wearers of heavy outer clothing (e.g., PPE) cool, even when working in the most challenging of environments. KoolSorb is patent-pending, and the latest fabric will be unveiled to the industry for the first time at the Emergency Services Show in Coventry, U.K. in November.
KoolSAF, which will be aimed specifically at the coolant apparel market, is the basis for functional and durable fabrics that offer significant advancements in reducing wearer heat-stress and fatigue while providing increased comfort and performance capabilities. KoolSorb is one example of this, and initial prototype tabards have already been trialled by instructors at Lincolnshire Fire & Rescue.
“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.
“We are looking to bring to the Emergency Services show a range of prototype garments to demonstrate what is possible (e.g., undergarments for the torso and head) that can all be worn under existing outer PPE. We hope to meet with people who are looking for innovative, yet functional new technologies," Hill adds.