New Durable Hydrophilic Ingeo Nonwovens Technology for Absorbent Hygiene Products Offers Fluid Management Superior to Polypropylene

The new hydrophilic system for nonwovens combines Ingeo’s unique chemistry with tailored topical treatments to improve fluid management, durability, and breathability.

MINNETONKA, Minn., October 5, 2017 – NatureWorks announces the development of a durable hydrophilic formulation that can promote skin health through improved fluid management and increased breathability for absorbent hygiene applications such as diapers, adult incontinence, and feminine hygiene products. In diapers, the combination of custom surface treatments with Ingeo-based nonwoven fabric for the topsheet can reduce the use of super absorbent polymer (SAP) or pulp by up to 30 percent for thinner, more comfortable, and cost-effective products.

"This innovative technology for Ingeo nonwovens delivers higher performance than polypropylene in fluid management metrics that are key to delivering superior skin health," said Aman Kulshrestha, Ph.D., Principal Scientist, NatureWorks. "The versatility of the new system gives manufacturers the ability to create new structures and differentiate their products."

Kulshrestha summarized the benefits of the new durable hydrophilic system for Ingeo nonwovens:

  • Surface energy can be tailored via the topical treatments designed specifically for Ingeo nonwovens, enhancing fluid management with improved strike-through, re-wet, and run-off metrics
  • Improved permanence / durability reduces the amount of topical treatment needed for nonwovens and reduces wash-off
    • In diapers, using this Ingeo nonwovens system for the topsheet can increase the efficacy of the absorbent core, enabling a reduction in SAP or pulp by up to 30 percent
  • Reduced aging maintains fluid management performance and increases shelf life of hygiene products
  • Improved breathability due to Ingeo’s higher water vapor transmission rate
  • Easy to manufacture via spunbond, meltblown, or staple fiber processes
  • Biobased material with lower carbon footprint

Key performance improvements over polypropylene

With this durable hydrophilic technology, Ingeo nonwovens surpass polypropylene in key measures of fluid management. The passage of fluid through the new Ingeo nonwoven system is faster and more sustained as measured by both strike-through and run-off. These nonwovens resist re-wet two times better than polypropylene. Significantly less surface finish is needed on the fabric compared to polypropylene, which decreases the potential for skin irritation. Durability in the new formulation is also higher compared to polypropylene as less surface finish is washed off and surface tension remains high. 

Performance Ingeo* Polypropylene**
Finish-on-yarn [% FOY] 0.3 wt.% 0.6 wt.%
Strike-through [over 3 insults] 1.3 - 1.9 sec. 1.8 - 2.3 sec.
Run-off [%] 0 0.4
Re-wet [grams] 0.10 / 0.08g 0.21 / 0.25g

Wash-off / surface tension reduction

[0.9 wt.% NaCl = 73.1 dynes/cm]
70.8 dynes/cm 47.8 dynes/cm

*18 gsm spunbond, modified w/ Goulston Lurol PL-15231-25
**14 gsm spunbond, modified w/ Goulston Lurol PP-15163

The hydrophilic formulation delivers improved aging characteristics that prolong hygiene product shelf life. Additionally, melt spinning and calendering optimization studies showed that a range of fabric improvements are possible to improve softness, tensile strength, and elongation in Ingeo nonwovens. 

Multiple strike-throughs [sec] Insult 1 Insult 2 Insult 3 Insult 4 Insult 5
Ingeo 1.474 2.53 2.776 3.008 3.38
Ingeo-aged 1.646 2.648 2.806 3.048 3.382
Polypropylene 2.188 4.098 8.518 5.672 7.664
Polypropylene-aged 3.676 9.846 16.744 14.556 13.268
Run-off [g] Insult 1 Insult 2 Insult 3 Insult 4  
Ingeo 0 0 0 0  
Ingeo-aged 0.01 0 0 0  
Polypropylene 2.05 0.27 0 0.02  
Polypropylene-aged 3.4 5.93 16.22 16.42  

Aging conditions = 2 weeks, 35ºC
Finish = Stantex S 6327, PULCRA chemicals, opu = 0.35 wt.%

NatureWorks engaged with channel partners in the development of tailored topical treatments for Ingeo nonwovens and ensured solutions work across typical nonwoven manufacturing processes such as spunbond, meltblown, and staple fibers. "We hope to partner with manufacturers and brands in North America, Asia, and Europe that are looking for ways to revitalize hygiene products through these custom structures," said Tim Vanyo, Principal Applications Engineer for NatureWorks. "Our applications development expertise in tailoring this durable hydrophilic system can help create the right properties for a customer’s application."

Aman Kulshrestha will provide details of the new durable hydrophilic Ingeo nonwovens at the Hygienix conference in Austin, November 6-9. For additional information, write to, and visit NatureWorks Fibers and Nonwovens for an overview of Ingeo-based solutions. 

About NatureWorks
NatureWorks is an advanced materials company offering a broad portfolio of renewably-sourced polymers and chemicals to the packaging, polymers, fibers, and chemicals markets. With performance and economics that compete with oil-based plastics and fibers, naturally advanced Ingeo™ polymers are valued for their unique functional properties and used in products from coffee capsules and electronics to diapers and wipes. Creating performance through chemistry, Vercet™ lactide-based solutions help innovators realize significant, measurable performance and cost advantages in products such as CASE (coatings, adhesives, sealants, and elastomers), toners, and surfactants. NatureWorks is jointly owned by Thailand’s largest ASEAN leading integrated petrochemical and refining company, PTT Global Chemical, and Cargill, which provides food, agriculture, financial and industrial products and services to the world.; follow NatureWorks on Twitter @natureworks


For Editorial Information

North America / Latin America
 Steve Sterling

 Steve Sterling

Asia Pacific
 Pauline Ning

 Daisuke Takabatake

In this Section

Where to Buy

Looking to buy Ingeo biopolymer?

See global distributors

Looking for products made with Ingeo?

See products from our partners