PVA creates the right chemistry between the athlete and his kit

Stiffening of warp-knitted textiles with polyvinyl acetate (PVA) increases dimensional stability

(PresseBox) ( Obertshausen, )
Shoe fabrics, especially those used in sports shoes, are the jack-of-all-trades among apparel textiles. On the one hand, they must be able to withstand wind, weather and high mechanical stresses and, on the other hand, they must be pliable and breathable - i.e. they must have typical textile characteristics. They must also look good - requirements that these all-round materials, with their different constructions and finishes, can all meet to a greater or lesser extent.

The range of shoe fabrics available has now been extended by another type developed in the warp knitting sector. The product developers at the well-known warp knitting machinery building company, KARL MAYER, have developed a semi-rigid fabric which, with the right finish, is flexible enough to be comfortable to wear and also tough enough for long-term use. The key element of this innovative textile is a tricot fabric combined with a coating made from polyvinyl acetate (PVA).

PVA provides suppleness and dimensional stability at the same time

The conventional ways of making materials stiffer is to carry out heat-setting and/or to apply an acrylate dispersion in water - two processes that form the cornerstones of what is currently possible. Coating with PVA is an alternative to these processes. The amorphous, odourless and tasteless PVA coating increases the stiffness and consequently the dimensional stability of the warp knit, without having any great effect on its textile characteristics. Both the breathability and specific handle of the knitted fabric are retained. The coating also increases the light and weather resistance of the textile. Additionally, the PVA reduces flammability and is harmless to the skin.

Problem-free finishing of tricot fabrics

To apply the PVA dispersion, the product developers at KARL MAYER worked closely with the finishing specialists at Textilveredlung Erzgebirge GmbH & Co. KG. This commission finisher, which is based in Sehmatal-Cranzahl, is extremely experienced in the finishing of warp knits and operates a modern machine plant.

Warp-knitted textiles produced on a TM 4 EL in a gauge of E 28 were used during the stiffening trials. The knitted fabrics were made from 100% polyester and had a subtle pattern featuring slightly structured effects. The PVA coating could therefore be applied with no problems whatsoever.

By applying the thermoplastic material, semi-rigid textiles were produced having a technical, grainy feel. The semi-transparent ground remained unaltered, so that the finished fabric also provides adequate porosity to permit air and heat exchange, thus offering a high level of comfort.

Demand for textiles with durable inserts

The main application for these semi-rigid warp-knitted textiles is in sports shoes. However, the PVA-coated tricot fabric is also suitable for other applications where dimensional stability, textile suppleness and weather resistance are all needed. Examples of possible products include covers for garden furniture, sunscreens and bag/luggage materials.
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