Green Theme Technologies LLC was recognized as an R & D 100 Winner by R & D magazine for its ChemStik® technology, a water-repellent treatment for performance outdoor apparel. While prior methods used “wet” chemistry, ChemStik technology, created with the support of Under Armour Inc., is “dry” and free of solvents and volatile organic compounds.
For the past 40 years, apparel brands have applied water-repellent finishes to a variety of casual and performance garments. This has long been accomplished through the use of “C8” fluorocarbon-based textile finishes. However, C8 fluorocarbons are being banned because of their persistence in the environment and associated health risks. This is forcing the industry to transition to the use of shorter-chain C6 fluorocarbons that are friendlier to the environment, but hurt performance and fabric softness.
With ChemStick technology, hydrocarbon monomers are applied to one or both surfaces of the fabric and subsequently converted to polymers through polymerization. This occurs during the dry-curing step, which can be performed thermally or with plasma. In addition, the ChemStik technology uses monomer cross-linkers, which increase the strength and stability of the polymers they connect, permanently bonding the polymer to the fabric. The treatment, called Evergreen™, is permanent, environmentally safe, produces very little waste and is low cost.