One of the fundamental laws of physics states that every system strives for a minimal surface energy. Therefore when a PFAS is coated on a textile substrate and exposed to water with its surface tension of 72 mN/m or oily substances with surface tensions of 20 mN/m and more, they will not spread on the textile surface. The consumer can observe this phenomenon as ”water and oil repellence”.
Spreading coefficient : S = gSV - ( gLV + gSL )
S = solid,
L = liquid,
A = air
SA = Surface energy of the substrate (e.g polymer surfaces)
LA = Surface tension of the liquid
SL = Interfacial tension
As can be seen from the formula for spreading S = gc - ( gL + gcL ) it is observed that if the surface energy of the substrate is lowered sufficiently, the liquid will not be able to wet the surface.
Practice shows that it is not sufficient to have only terminal CF3 groups in a fluorinated chemical. Optimum reduction of the surface
energy gc is achieved with perfluorinated chains with a sufficient chain length to obtain a large enough density of fluorinated carbons on the surface.
So these properties described above are unique for the carbon --- fluorina covalent bond in a highly fluorinated structure.
Multi-stakeholder associations like the Outdoor Industry Association, Sustainable Apparel Coalition and ZDHC are fostering this type of dialog by bringing together supply chain partners as well as stakeholders in pre-competitive spaces where this dialog can flourish.
A little bit of humility and agreement on common ground! But seriously, incentives for change can come in a number of different forms. Legislation after a lack of publicly available hazard information has led us to the current situation on DWR -- a situation as major as a country or group of countries banning the import of a chemistry or goods that were manufactured in a site where that chemistry is present.
Patagonia prefers that these incentives come from passionate leaders at companies who determine to focus their efforts on identifying the crisis, then building solutions to suit it. This proactive approach leads to more opportunity for connections with Brands and chemistry suppliers and common ground for true collaboration. Patagonia's goal is to prove that Brands and chemistry providers can "do good" while running a very good business. All too often we hear about the challenges of implementing green chemistry, and how those challenges are directly related to the lack of insistence from the company's executives or shareholders. Only when those companies break that paradigm will they be able to focus their energy on "doing good!"
Here’s another view, building on what Matt wrote….
In developing collaborative efforts involving competing brands, such as you are describing Oliva, the GC3 has found that if the subject of the collaboration is “pre-competitive,” or not focused on something that the brands are competing on, that can be a sweet spot for collaboration. Based on our discussions with apparel and footwear brands, DWRs are viewed as a highly competitive area by some brands and not so much by others. For the former, these brands want to keep exclusivity, particularly in the early stages of adoption of a new technology, and more so when they co-invested in the development and commercialization of the tech. If they invested, they want to recoup investment through brand image and performance benefits. Though eventually these brands may want to see it more widely adopted to bring down the cost through scale and increase the positive societal impact.
The GC3 is considering a collaborative effort on DWRs, similar to the one we are doing on now on preservatives for personal care and household products.
For the preservative project, the brands involved (e.g., P&G, J&J, Unilever, Method, Seventh Generation) have agreed that the preservative space is pre-competitive for them and they are actively involved in our collaboration to accelerate the development of new, safe preservative technologies.
In the grand scheme of the universe as described in the Periodic Table of the Elements (the building blocks of all things), the element Fluorine (F) sits is a truly unique spot looking down upon all others. It is from this spot and with the fundamental properties it is embued with that make it deliver truly amazing properties. One of these properties is its desire to push away (repel) others. When lots of fluorine is attached to carbon, this becomes evident in oil and water beading on a surface that has lots of fluorine. Simply put, "you can't touch it."
Thank you! The world seems so much more complicated outside of my nice academic lab!
Great thought, Evan. As I alluded to in other responses today, Patagonia's tact is to lead by example. We are proving that companies can invest in furthering new technology development and proliferation while building top-notch products and running a great business! Patagonia has filled its toolbox with instruments such at its $20 Million & Change venture fund, 1% for the Planet, Environmental Grants, and becoming a registered Benefit Corporation, and we have learned to use these tools effectively while growing our business.
Yes there are several universities and institutes in our netswork worldwide that work in their specific fields and cooperate and share data for new knowledge on these PFAS and novel PFAS systems. I can al least count more than 30 research centers World wide. A long list.
The marketplace has signaled that current commerical non-fluorinated products deliver water repellency but they are not very durable and some times an awful lot needs to be used. The newest technologies coming in to the market are addressing the need for true durable water repellency and protection against water-based stains. Of course, none provide oil repellency....that's the next nut to crack.