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New Contributor III

Ask the Innovators: How Green is Your Raincoat?

In this second session of Ask the Innovators, join us Jan. 27th on the Green Chemistry Innovation Portal to discuss the science of greener alternatives to durable water repellents for textiles. For an introduction to the topic, see this article by Christiana Briddell. During our online discussion, you can ask innovators and researchers at Patagonia, Chemours, the Swedish Research Institute for Industrial Renewal and Sustainable Growth (Swerea), and the University of Leeds anything you would like to know about durable water repellent technology.  Our participants have been recruited from different sectors and areas of expertise in order to provide a variety of perspectives on this topic.

The experts joining us for this session will be:

  • Bob Buck, Chemours
    Technical Fellow
    Bob Buck works for The Chemours Company and has 28 years of experience in textiles and DWR finishes. The Chemours Company produces both short-chain fluorinated and renewably sourced non-fluorinated DWR products. Bob leads a multi-disciplinary program to understand the life-cycle sustainability of Chemours’ products. This work includes advocacy, global collaboration, communication and interaction with academic, regulatory, NGO and industrial scientists. He is a co-author of numerous peer-reviewed publications and book chapters.
  • Matt Dwyer, Patagonia
    Director of Materials Innovation
    Matt Dwyer received his B.S. in Materials Science & Engineering from Lehigh University in 2006 and spent nearly 8 years at W.L. Gore & Associates developing ePTFE-based high performance technical fabrics. He now directs Materials Innovation at Patagonia, which is much more than sourcing fabrics from existing supply chains -- successful innovation in materials requires having the resources to understand and implement clean chemistries and technologies all the way up the supply chain, of which DWR is a critical component. DWR has been a constant theme in Matt's career, from early challenges in optimization, to managing the transition away from C8-based chemistries on technical fabrics, and investing and implementing future technologies in the Outdoor Industry.
  • Stefan Posner, Swerea IVF
    Senior Researcher
    Stefan Posner is a polymer and textile chemist at Swerea IVF with over 30 years experience in researching chemicals in textiles and polymeric materials. He has collaborated with international companies, governments, and academia in several international projects over the years. Stefan has spent many years doing legal preparatory work on chemicals for UNEP Stockholm Convention, EU Commission and several national authorities and is deeply involved in research to substitute hazardous chemicals. His work has recently focused on highly fluorinated substances and flame retardants.
  • Philippa Hill, University of Leeds
    Postgraduate Researcher
    Philippa Hill is a Ph.D. researcher at the University of Leeds, UK, studying repellency in outdoor apparel, specifically consumer care and maintenance. Her research work includes laboratory-based and qualitative social methods, working alongside the outdoor industry. She is a keen mountaineer, which adds to her interest in repellent outdoor apparel and the end-use of the chemistry on fabric.

Ask the experts anything you like: How do durable water and stain repellents work? Why are conventional chemistries falling out of favor? What alternatives to perfluorinated chemicals are available? How can academia and industry collaborate to create next generation textile chemistry?

Questions will be collected on this post and answered live by text on January 27th, so create a free ACS ID now and submit your question below. Come back from 11:30 AM-1:00 PM ET (8:30-10:00 AM PT) on Jan. 27th to chat with the innovators and the community right here!

Ask your question below, and don't forget to come back on January 27th to see the answer.

Labels (1)
97 Replies
New Contributor II

Re: Ask the Innovators: How Green is Your Raincoat?

Looking forward to a dynamic session to address your questions!

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New Contributor

Re: Ask the Innovators: How Green is Your Raincoat?

To what degree is functional substitution - the idea of replacing function and not molecular substitution being discussed with regards to DWRs?  Are there times where water repellency performance is overprescribed?  What material changes/modifications may be available to achieve the DWR functionality?

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Contributor

Re: Ask the Innovators: How Green is Your Raincoat?

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer questions! I'm wondering about non-fluorinated alternatives which could include paraffin or nano-materials. What renewable alternatives are being researched, and how is the safety of something like a novel nano-material being assessed?

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Not applicable

Re: Ask the Innovators: How Green is Your Raincoat?

How do the current non-fluorinated alternatives compare to the traditional fluorinated counterparts? Are they able to produce the same or better performance or is there still some work to be done? How much of the research and development of new water repellants is done in-house within a company vs. in collaboration with academic labs?

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New Contributor III

Re: Ask the Innovators: How Green is Your Raincoat?

I've heard of some biomimicry approaches in development, mostly based on the lotus leaf. Can anyone comment on how close to commercialization these are, or whether there are other biomimetic approaches that look promising?

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New Contributor III

Re: Ask the Innovators: How Green is Your Raincoat?

Beside the University of Leeds, are there other academic research centers doing applied research in this area? 

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Not applicable

Re: Ask the Innovators: How Green is Your Raincoat?

Would you comment on durability of repellant coatings and what is typically necessary in a textile application?  What is the relative durability of the topology approaches (e.g., lotus leaf) like coatings from Evonik on textiles?

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New Contributor III

Re: Ask the Innovators: How Green is Your Raincoat?

How does one balance the need for water resistance/repellant coatings with stain resistance?  Seems to me that you have competing functional needs of hydrophobicity and lipophobicity.

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New Contributor III

Re: Ask the Innovators: How Green is Your Raincoat?

What is being done, or what could be done, from a fiber and weave perspective or porous membrane perspective (other than fluorinated materials) to avoid the use of a coating?  Is this being looked at?  What have been the most promising?

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