Protect & Care
Protect & Care – A winning team: As additives for different application areas, silicones support and optimize your fabrics in a myriad of different ways. Rise up to the next challenge by choosing a player from our winning team.
Long gone are the days when clothes only had to be clean. Fabrics nowadays have to possess several properties: easy ironing, water repellency, softness and more besides. WACKER’s series of Protect & Care products makes it easy for formulators in the detergents industry to meet these requirements. Innovative silicones added to various end applications provide additional conditioning effects, without building up on the fabric. The best results are produced by a mix of silicones and conventional organic softeners.
We offer an innovative, market-driven range of high-end silicone fabric-care additives that can be used in any combination to meet your needs.
Bereck’s mode of action – The great mobility of the silicone loops enables the treated fibers to readily slip past each other. The very low frictional resistance between the fibers gives the fabrics a silky-soft hand feel; the tactile properties are influenced by the length of the silicone loops.
The active ingredients in fabric softeners reduce friction between individual fibers and between fibers and metal. This counteracts any undesirable effects that may occur during the wash cycle, such as loss of stability. Silicones attached to fibers promotes distribution and leads to excellent lubrication. This is due to the great flexibility of the silicone’s Si-O-Si backbone. Functionalizing the polymers with amine groups, for example, boosts anchorage of the silicones on the fibers.
Fabrics are generally treated with polydimethylsiloxanes, especially those which have amino side groups. The protonated nitrogen atoms of the amine groups of these silicones interact with the negatively charged fabric fibers via electrostatic forces. This ensures very strong anchorage of the silicone polymers on the surface of the fibers. The resulting silicone loops point away from the fibers.
Softness, anti-wrinkle effect, smoothing of folds, easier ironing, remoisturizing
For optimum performance, mixtures of silicones (inorganic component) and esterquat (organic) should be used. Generally, using silicones in conjunction with quaternary ammonium compounds provides effective anchorage on fibers. This is because organic fabric softeners have a good affinity for both the fibers and the silicones. The organic product provides essential softening properties, while also supporting attachment of the silicone products to the fibers. As opposed to that, the silicone product has substantial additional effects, even when present in low concentrations, and so extends the functionality of the fabric softener. The right combination of esterquat-based fabric softeners and silicones imbues formulations with specific effects that are beneficial for use in the wash cycle of washing machines.
Show your “soft hand” by imparting a silky-smooth feel to your fabrics.
Anchoring silicones on fibers for fluffy-soft laundry: one reason for laundry to feel rough is that the fibers are rubbing against the skin. This can be prevented by using softeners containing silicones. The silicone polymers are anchored on each individual fiber, creating a lubricating effect that reduces surface friction. With the result that the fabric is much softer and has a silky-smooth surface.
Soft Hand Feel
Modern fabric softeners, such as the concentrated, aqueous macroemulsion of the amino functional polydimethylsiloxane (trade name: WACKER® FC 218) impart a surface-based, supple hand feel.
Smooth going: Silicones make ironing fabrics really easy.
Easy ironing thanks to silicone-based additives: ironing should be quick and easy to do. Silicone-based additives added to the laundry during the rinse cycle come in useful here. The silicone chains anchor on the fibers, reducing the friction between the fabric and the iron.
Measuring the Easy Ironing Effect
A cotton or mixed fabric treated with silicone is laid out on an ironing board. The board is set up at a specified angle. The time is then measured for a hot iron (on a cotton setting) to slide from the top edge to the bottom edge of the ironing board.
Use silicone to render laundry water-repellent and maximize dryness and comfort.
Better water repellency through tailor-made silicones: Sports and leisure apparel often needs to be thoroughly impregnated so that it repels dirt and water. This can be accomplished by using silicone-containing softeners that are added to the wash during the rinse cycle. Tailor-made silicones become anchored on the fabrics, protecting them against water and water-borne dirt. What’s special is that breathability is retained.
Impregnating without Solvents or Hydrofluorocarbons
Functional clothing made with high-tech fabrics needs to be impregnated regularly in order to stay dirt and water repellent. Special products have been developed for this application, such as impregnating sprays and wash-in impregnating agents.
With WACKER Protect & Care products, you can create impregnating sprays and impregnating agents for use in the washing machine that contain neither solvent nor hydrofluorocarbons. Extensive screening tests have revealed a number of silicones that generate a marked hydrophobic effect on different textile fibers. A special, patented stabilization method has made it possible to develop an emulsifier-free silicone microemulsion that envelops textile fibers with an optimum hydrophobic film that cannot be destroyed by surfactants.
The effectiveness of this silicone microemulsion (trade name: WACKER® HC 603 and HC 401) has been carefully tested on different fabrics (cotton, synthetic fibers, membrane fabrics). Extensive tests have also shown that the microemulsion can impart water repellency to both buckskin and nubuck leather as well as to solid, porous surfaces.
Make your fluffy-soft towels highly absorbent.
Boosting fabrics’ moisture absorption with silicones: Fabrics’ ability to absorb water can be greatly enhanced by adding silicones that have been specifically rendered hydrophilic. The silicone chains anchor on the fibers, with their hydrophilic groups projecting outward. This reduces the wetting time and enhances the hydrophilicity. The result is extremely absorbent fabrics. Synthetic fibers, too, are rendered hydrophilic.
Modern fabric softeners, such as the concentrated, aqueous macroemulsion of a hydrophilic functional polydimethylsiloxane (trade name: WACKER® FC 214 and/or FC 130) impart high absorbency and even enable synthetic fibers to acquire hydrophilic properties.
Drying clothes without having to wait! Shorten fabrics’ drying times with silicones.
Shorter drying times with silicones: Saving time is important in many areas nowadays – even laundry shouldn’t take longer than necessary to dry. Polar silicones anchored on the surfaces of fibers cause fabrics to release moisture more quickly even as the washing machine is in the spin cycle. The result is that laundry dries much faster, whether on the clothes line or in the dryer.
Clothes still contain a certain amount of moisture after the spin cycle on a machine wash. The damper the clothes, the longer they take to dry on the line or in the dryer.
Super-wetters, i.e. silicones which have been rendered polar, are therefore added to the laundry in the last rinse cycle. They cause the fibers to lose water faster and more efficiently during spinning. This saves time on the line and time in the dryer.
Show your true colors – Use silicone to protect your fabrics against fading.
Color protection through encasement with silicones: Frequent wearing and washing of clothes wear out the surface of fabrics. The colors fade and the clothes become increasingly unsightly. Using a softener containing silicone can counteract this effect. The silicone protects each of the fibers by encasing them during the wash cycle, thereby fixing the colors in place. This prevents the colors from fading – they look fresher and brighter for longer.
Two samples of material are examined under an electron microscope after being washed ten times. The sample washed with a fabric softener containing silicone has a smoother surface and greater color intensity. You can view the results of the test in this video.
1:0 for the perfect fit. Clothing stays in great shape with silicones.
Fabrics keep their shape longer with silicones: Frequent washing causes materials and fabrics to lose their shape and elasticity over time. This can be counteracted, however, by using washing additives containing silicones. As the silicones anchored on the textile fibers are crosslinkable, they are able to form bridges between the fibers. This lowers the friction between the separate fibers and enhances the elasticity of the fabrics. After washing, the fabrics quickly regain their original shape and remain elastic. And it’s good to know that the fabric needs much less time to iron afterward.
Keeping in Shape
There’s no comparison: A T-shirt treated with silicone keeps its shape even after 10 wash cycles – unlike an untreated T-shirt. You can view the test results in this video.
With silicones you can enhance the tensile strength and useful life of fabrics and put the brakes on wear.
Fabrics keep their shape longer with silicones: With frequent washing, materials and fabrics lose their shape and elasticity over time. This can be counteracted, however, by using washing additives containing silicones. As the silicones anchored on the textile fibers are crosslinkable, they are able to form bridges between the fibers. This lowers the friction between the separate fibers and enhances the elasticity of the fabrics. After washing, the fabrics quickly regain their original shape and remain elastic. And it’s good to know that the material needs much less time to iron afterward.
To test the tensile strength of a material, a prepared piece of fabric is inserted into a tensile testing device. The tearing process begins and the amount of force used to tear the material is measured. Much more force is needed to tear the pieces of fabric treated with silicones. You can view the results of the test in this video.