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Silicone impregnant for household and textile applications

Silicone impregnant for household and textile applications
Munich-based chemicals group Wacker is presenting its Wacker HC 303 silicone emulsion at the 2014 World Conference on Fabric and Home Care, organized by the American Oil Chemists' Society (AOCS). The product forms a water-repellent silicone film on textiles, leather, wood or other substrates. The microemulsion contains no solvents and allows manufacturers to develop highly effective impregnants for a variety of household applications. The conferenceis is held October 6 - 9 in Montreux, Switzerland.

Water forms beads on impregnated materials - an effect that deteriorates with frequent washing. Wacker HC 303 silicone emulsion makes it possible to impregnate fabrics and to restore the water repellency of already impregnated textiles while laundering.

Until Wacker HC 303 was developed, it was by no means certain that good impregnation results could be achieved with water-based silicone emulsions. On the contrary, water solubility and hydrophobicity were long considered to be mutually exclusive. The reason for this is that the stabilizing emulsifiers form water-permeable microchannels in the impregnation film, which severely compromise the impregnation effect.

The Munich-based chemical group solved this problem by developing the Wacker HC 303 silicone emulsion, thus finally achieving a breakthrough in water-based impregnation systems. Upon drying, the colorless, low-viscosity, oil-in-water microemulsion forms a water-repellent silicone film that remains unaffected by emulsifiers or other inclusions. When used in textiles or leather, the emulsion envelops individual fibers in a thin, uniform layer without sticking them together. This allows the impregnated surface to breathe and stay dry, while water and other aqueous liquids - such as red wine or coffee - immediately bead off. The impregnant achieves its full effect even at room temperature. The impregnated substrate does not need to undergo heat treatment following application.

Wacker HC 303 gives manufacturers a reliable, long-lasting means of impregnating textiles. This is also demonstrated by the drop test, in which a cotton towel treated with Wacker HC 303 requires eight hours to absorb a drop of water. The only other way of achieving better results in tests like these is to use a solvent-based impregnant.

Wacker HC 303 can be processed to create ready-to-use, aqueous impregnants and polishes for a wide variety of porous substrates such as textiles, leather, cork, wood or stone. The microemulsion is particularly suitable as a laundry impregnant that can be added directly to the rinse cycle. In these applications, Wacker HC 303 restores previously impregnated textiles to their full water-repellent effect.