TT: How do you see the materials industry evolving in the next 5-10 years? Can you discuss any recent developments or innovations in materials that have caught your attention?
I see the materials industry finding alternative methods to scaling new sustainable advancements that will enable them to become more common than they are now.
TT: What are the most commonly used methods for evaluating hydrophobicity and oleophobicity in textiles, and what are their advantages and limitations?
The most common way to evaluate performance in textiles is through standard AATCC methods that test for certain parameters that help determine the effectiveness of the solution being used. Historically, those tests were made for fluorocarbons. While these are still applicable today, they are not fully accurate in determining whether or not a solution that does not have fluorocarbons will actually work. That said, certain test methods such as AATCC #118 do not always offer a full comprehensive analysis towards the effectiveness of a materials oil repellency. At Impermea Materials we have a host of additional tests that we conduct when determining the performance of our products which include ‘real life’ scenario testing.
TT: How do industry standards and regulations impact the development and testing of hydrophobic textiles, particularly for medical, construction, and automotive applications?
Impermea materials has always been at the forefront of developing performance driven sustainable solutions, but unfortunately, much of the industry only evolves when regulatory tailwinds approach. Many applications within the mentioned industries generally lag a few years behind new technologies like ours due to a lack of urgency, increased costs that are associated with making initial changes and being first to market.
TT: What are the key challenges faced by the textile hydrophobicity testing industry in terms of accuracy, reproducibility, and scalability?
The main challenge in creating sustainable solutions for the textile industry is not just related to hydrophobicity, but also to oleophobicity, especially in terms of stain resistance finishes. While conventional C6 technologies are known for their high performance, sustainable alternatives have typically underperformed or been more expensive. However, a new solution has emerged in the form of Impermea Materials, which offers comparable performance to traditional C6 technologies at a similar cost, without the sustainability concerns.
TT: How does Impermea Materials’ technology differ from conventional methods in creating hydrophobic and oleophobic textiles for various applications?
Impermea Materials has developed new generation chemistry that we have coined as siloalckoxyurylsilane. This new generation technology enables super oleophobic properties and super hydrophobic properties among other benefits without the use of any fluorine or substitute bad actor chemical.
TT: What unique benefits does Impermea Materials’ technology provide in terms of environmental impact and sustainability, particularly concerning plastics packaging and toxic chemicals?
We offer the highest performing product in the industry that helps enable new product development without using any fluorine, toxic substitutes and other bad actor chemicals. We do all of this while maintaining the substrates repulpability, compostability and recyclability giving you the ultimate combination of performance and sustainability.
TT: How do you ensure that your products meet the highest performance standards in the industry, and what specific testing methods do you use to validate their performance?
We have a host of performance tests that we conduct when engaging any new customer or incorporating any new chemistry. This includes the industry standards AATCC and ASTM methods. In addition, we internally conduct over 25 additional tests that evaluate a variety of real performance needs. These include tests such as static water absorption, static oil absorption and other stress tests.
TT: Can you discuss any ongoing or planned collaborations with other companies or organisations in the textile, medical textile, construction textile, and automotive textile industries?
Our preferred partner is Regal Fabrics, but we have ongoing projects with several companies for apparel and medical garments.
TT: What is your strategy to stay ahead in the market and keep up with the changing demands and regulations in these industries?
We are always iterating our technologies and processes to improve everything we do. We are heavily involved with many industry trade organisations and regulatory bodies to constantly optimise our solutions to stay industry leaders in innovation.
TT: How do you plan to expand Impermea’s product offerings to meet the specific needs of different industries and applications, particularly in the technical textiles segment?
At Impermea Materials, we have built a technology platform that allows us to rapidly generate new technologies for many different applications. We entertain new product development when companies reach out with a challenging problem that demands a high performing solution. We also recently hired our Director of Strategy and Product Development, Hannah Haugh, who is in charge of driving new innovation through the lens of our customers.
TT: How do you address the challenges of scalability, ensuring that your innovative solutions can be applied effectively at an industrial level?
Our executive vice president and chief research and development officer, Juan Jarufe, brings nearly 40 years of experience in developing ground-breaking technologies and rapidly scaling them up. Under his leadership, Impermea Materials has built a 1 million pound per month capacity ready to take on the industry needs.
TT: Are there any new or emerging technologies or materials that you are exploring to further enhance the performance and sustainability of your hydrophobic and oleophobic textile solutions?
We are constantly testing and iterating our technologies to ensure that we are at the forefront of the industry.
TT: Can you share any success stories or case studies where your products have made a significant impact in the medical, construction, or automotive textile industries?
In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Impermea Materials developed a consumer-friendly coating that could be used for any textile, including medical fabrics. The technologies enabled regular fabrics, like cloth masks made from Kona cotton, to be sprayed and inhibit antimicrobial properties to the same effect of a surgical grade 3M N95 mask. The study was conducted at Northeastern University.
TT: What do you envision for the future of Impermea Materials in terms of its role in the global market for hydrophobic and oleophobic textiles and the potential for growth in various industry segments?
We want to become the performance leaders in the industry who can solve the hardest problems with the best technology.