May/June | Volume 32, No. 3

Conductive and Heat-Resistant Fibers for Performance Markets
By Philippe Sannejan, R.STAT

R.STAT, a specialty high-temperature resistant and conductive fibers manufacturing company, has its roots based on the original developments by Rhone Poulenc in the 1970s. For the last 40 years Rhone Poulenc, located in France, and known as R.STAT since 1997, is an independent company and industry leader that has created and perfected two state-of-the-art conductive textile grade fibers and yarns from both stainless steel and silver coated nylon.

Chart of R.STAT’s applications

Both fiber types are widely used in a host of specialty technical textile, apparel, home and office furnishing markets plus a variety of specialty textile constructions for industrial markets. Weavers, knitters, braiders, wetlaid and nonwoven fabric companies incorporate stainless steel and silver coated nylon fibers in numerous end markets, often unrecognized by the ultimate textile user, yet critical to the end-use application. For example, the positive effect of these conductive fibers presence silently guard office employees, guests of hotels, passengers on commercial aircraft, wood or paper pulp industry workmen, firemen and soldiers against electrical and/or triboelectric generated spark and electrical shock situations capable of causing a fire or explosion resulting from electrical discharge. Other applications include a growing dependence for protection against electromagnetic sources to applications in a host of industrial applications involving heating elements and applications where high-temperature tolerance is required, such as in heat sinks, burners, sophisticated baghouse filtration and use in harsh and corrosion resistance environments.

Broad Market and Application Uses
The positive contribution of both metal and silver coated nylon fibers offer broader opportunities that most experienced professionals, even in the broad textile industry, do not readily recognize or have personal experience in. Examples of applications include uses where anti-static properties are important, such as in the contract fabric industry, including upholstery textiles in offices, hotels, casinos, cruise ships and hospitals, as well as broadloom carpet and carpet tile. In these applications, R.STAT/S (metal fibers) and SilverSTAT (silver coated nylon) antistatic properties silently stand guard in eliminating electrostatic discharge (such as seizing a knob, moving with castor chair) to prevent disruption of computers or electronic devices.

Clean room fabrics, protective apparel and work-wear clothing, as well as security shoes use conductive fibers to avoid the dangerous accumulation of electrical charges. In a microelectronics clean room, even the smallest of discharges can have a negative and even catastrophic effect on wafer and chip yield as well as the reduction of potential danger of fire in a space containing hazardous processing chemicals. Electrical linemen, natural gas, petroleum and mine workers are other specific fields of use where the danger of explosion is always present. Acknowledging safety, insurance companies now offer lower rates to employers who provide engineered protective workmen clothing to employees.

Filtration media containing a low-percentage blend of metal or silver coated nylon fiber in combination with synthetic fibers provide static protection in baghouse filters safeguarding against the risk of explosion where fine powders are present. Conductive fibers are also used as a woven conductive scrim within the structure of a needlefelt baghouse nonwoven fabric, providing greater fabric stability as well as mechanism to discharge static build-up. Examples of such uses include baghouses found in foundries, granaries, abrasive production factories, in addition to flour and sugar processing facilities.

Silver Coated Nylon Fiber and Yarn
R.STAT has designed performance solutions for many common and advanced applications for its SilverSTAT - pure silver coated polyamide fibers and filaments. Silver metal is historically known for its numerous benefits; namely conductive (silver being the most conductive natural element on earth), as well as for its highly anti-bacterial, anti-fungi and anti-odor properties in addition to its thermo-reflecting properties. Thermo reflecting properties help reduce heat penetration from an outside source or aid in containing the loss of heat from an emitting source.

The industrial manufacturing process of SilverSTAT is a unique enabling technology allowing for a permanent bond of the company’s 99.9 % metallic thin silver layer onto polyamide (nylon) fibers. SilverSTAT is available as cut flexible staple fiber from 1.5 - 30 denier, consisting of flexible pure silver sheath and is often pre-blended with other fibers, such as polyester, nylon or aramid fibers. Continuous filaments range from 20 to 220 denier in size with various dpf.

Stainless Steel Fiber and Yarn
Other end-uses and customers require thermo-resistant conductive fibers and R.STAT developed a range of R.STAT/S consisting of fine diameter, highly flexible stainless steel (alloy 316L), with other alloys available upon request. Like the silver coated nylon described above, stainless steel fiber and filament are available as staple fiber, filament yarn and tow.

Stainless steel fibers are used in a wide range of applications, including:

• High electrical conductivity in electromagnetic shielding applications known as EMI shielding having the ability to provide Faraday cage insulation common in mobile telephones.
• Thermo-resistant properties (600° C - 1100° F) in industrial oven insulation and as heat sink blankets used in automotive glass forming and specialty glassware businesses.
• Dust and baghouses routinely utilize the combination of conductive and thermo resistant properties of stainless steel fibers in hot gas/air filtration.
• Composite applications make use of fine metal fibers referred to as fiber metal felt, in combination with wire cloth for use in polymer filtration in the production of fine synthetic staple and filament yarns as well as the manufacture of thin plastic films.
• Metals fibers and yarns are found in automotive heated seating as well as flexible braided electrical cable wrap as electromagnetic EMI shielding in military and commercial aircraft.
• Metal, as well as silver coated nylon fibers and yarns, provide easily detectable protection against counterfeiting when embedded in high-end consumer branded merchandise.

To meet the requirements of specialty performance applications R.STAT is able to provide its stainless steel fiber in a wide range of stretch-broken staple fibers (pure steel or blends with synthetic fibers), stretch-broken slivers (for spinning mills) and/or pure steel spun yarns. Fibers diameters range from 6 to 22 microns (equivalent 1.5 to 27 denier). Also, available, as a standard available item, are flexible wires, similar to monofilament synthetic yarn, in diameters of 35 and 50 microns.

R.STAT’s philosophy and historical perspective is to work in close partnership with its customers to support their designs and tailor-made solutions, enabling customers to differentiate their products from competition. R.STAT further seeks to offer solutions and benefits beyond a standard fiber. The company is open to modifying its existing materials based on customer needs, including joint developments for advanced constructions available nowhere else in the market. R.STAT is pragmatic and will not hesitate to provide advice to use another technology if there is a better solution for a specific application.

Equipped with sophisticated R&D and testing laboratories, R.STAT provides its worldwide customer base extensive support, including checking and verification of electrostatic or other properties of textiles designed with R.STAT fibers in its own laboratory in order optimize products with customers before final certification by an independent laboratory.

Above all, lot-to-lot product repeatability and quality of R.STAT fibers lead the parade and remains unmatched in the industry. The company takes considerable pride in the reliability of its products knowing the critical nature and responsibility that its fibers play in engineered applications as well as customers’ highest expectations of a dependable world-class supplier.

R.STAT will exhibit at Techtextil in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, June 11–13, 2013, Hall 4.1 Stand G 14.


For more information contact:

Pascal Peninon (France)
Tel: +33 477 013 744 | Email: ppeninon@r-stat.com

Ed Gregor (North America)
Tel: 1-704-442-1940 | Email: ecg@egregor.com

Website: www.r-stat.fr