German specialty-fiber fabricator Kelheim Fibres GmbH announces the development of a viscose fiber which provides static dissipation. The fiber receives its specific properties by the incorporation of electrically conductive additives into the fiber’s core. As a result, the company says, functional additives are evenly distributed throughout the whole fiber, while at the same time the typical properties of the viscose fiber—such as its high absorbency—are preserved.
Initial tests with these fibers have shown a significant increase of their electrical conductivity in comparison to a standard viscose fiber. Depending on requirements, Kelheim fibers can produce fibers in the middle conductivity range.
The fiber could be used in protective workwear for electrostatic discharge, for the protection of electronic components or humans. Used as a humidity sensor, wherever an immediate detection of moisture is required, the dissipative fiber offers a significant advantage—the fibers could be used in bed pads for the health-and-care sector as well as in roof linings that detect possible leakages.
When the fibers absorb moisture, they swell, which leads to a decrease of their electric conductivity. When water is stored in the fiber’s matrix, the conductive pathways of the additives are interrupted. The change in conductivity depending on the fiber’s moisture is reversible.
Kelheim Fibres GmbH produces viscose specialty fibers used in such applications as fashion, hygiene and medical products, nonwovens and specialty papers.