Converting Quarterly 2015 Quarter 3 : Page 41

In this composite structure, the quality of the bond between the microporous film and the accompanying substrate is – like the development of the microvoids – a balancing act. If the bond quality is too low, the structure may prematurely fail and deliver the consumer an experience that falls short of expectations. If the strength of the bond is too high, however, the composite may be stiff – especially one that may be used as a garment – again displeasing the end user. Conclusion Microporous films today are engineered to promote precise moisture vapor transmission and barriers to protect against external threats, perhaps liquid moisture or even life-threatening pathogens. A calcium-carbonate filler chiefly is responsible for the initial development of the micropores, and mechanical stretching of the substrate helps the film to fully realize the pore sizes and patterns that make precise breathability possible. To date, these microporous films are seen in many everyday applications, including medical/hygiene (gowns, drapes, bedding and wound care); apparel (rainwear, outdoorwear and sportswear); automotive (exterior and interior protection, acoustics and tires); construction (moisture barrier, filtration and sealing); industrial protection (protective and safety garments, and biohazard disposable garments); and consumer packaging (food, dry goods and cosmetics). Through further development and the ingenuity of converters, it’s not hard to imagine microporous filmstocks breathing new life into existing markets for years to come. n References 1. Ansari, D.; Calhoun, A.; Merriman, P. (2001) “The Role of Calcium Carbonate in Microporous Film Applications.” Imerys Performance Minerals. 2. Wu, P.C.; Jones, G.; Shelley, C.; Woelfli B. (2007). “Novel Microporous Films and Their Composites.” Journal of Engineered Fibers and Fabrics, Vol. 2, Issue 1. Patricia Featherstone, director of marketing & communications – hygiene & industrial, RKW Group, has more than 30 years of experience in the plastics industry. She also is active with the European Disposables and Nonwovens Association (EDANA) and is serving as chair of the Board of Governors for the fourth consecutive year. Patricia can be reached at +32-4-3498665, fax: +32-4-3498660 or patricia.featherstone@rkw-group.com, www.rkw-group.com 2015 Quarter 3 • www.convertingquarterly.com 39

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