Fiber manufacturer Technical Absorbents Ltd. (TAL), Gimsby/UK, has developed a new grade of superabsorbent fiber (SAF) specifically for use within a new range of SAF nonwovens that are more resistant to shrinkage.
The new SAF was developed in response to the demand from the medical industry for a superabsorbent fabric suitable for use in advanced wound pad dressings. The fiber had to be capable of withstanding the moisture used in the EtO sterilization process that is frequently employed in the production of the pads, in order to ensure product safety and compliance.
EtO sterilization is a low-temperature process (typically between 37 and 63°C) that uses ethylene oxide (EtO) gas to reduce the level of infectious agents. While generally applied in gas form, however, the EtO is usually mixed with other substances – and often steam.
The amount of shrinkage caused by EtO sterilization depends very much on the product design and construction, but in general the new SAF has been tested and proven to reduce fabric shrinkage by around 70%. It is suitable for use in all SAF nonwovens formats, whether needlepunched, thermally bonded or airlaid.