Ludwigshafen, Germany -- Winter athletes can benefit from flexible, functional sportswear made from PolyTHF, according to BASF.
The chemical company says synthetic fibres made using PolyTHF, which is also a major component in polyurethane elastomers, can create ski suits withstand the harshest conditions.
"A synthetic fibre with truly exceptional properties is needed if the clothing is to withstand not only the cold, but also the athlete's vigorous movements and perspiration," said Dr Dieter Rodewald of BASF Intermediates in Asia.
"Spandex fibres, made from the BASF intermediate PolyTHF, are ideally suited to these extreme conditions. The textiles are permeable to water vapour and retain their elasticity and flexibility even at icy temperatures, making the fabric feel like a second skin," he added.
Traditional natural fibres, such as fur coats or woollen jumpers, have a tendency to become rigid, making the wearer feel cold, BASF said in its 10 Feb article, but the advent of synthetic fibres in the 1930s changed this.
The company noted that spandex fibres are "unfazed by frost or humidity" and that most textiles have some degree of spandex in them, depending on how flexible they need to be. Jeans contain about 3-percent spandex, BASF said, while underwear contains about 8 percent. By comparison, athletes' functional wear contains about 80 percent PolyTHF allowing it to retain extreme elasticity.
BASF noted that about 70 percent of its PolyTHF goes to the textile industry, and as a major constituent of polyurethane elastomers, it is also used to manufacture long life wheels for skateboards and inline skates. LMH