ARS Seeks Business Partner for Flame-Resistant
Wool By Kim
Kaplan December 22, 2006
The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is looking for a business partner to
license a new product that can be applied to wool fabrics and wool-rich blends
to make them much more flame-resistant.
Adding flame and extreme heat resistance is of particular interest to
the Department of Defense (DOD),
which is seeking ways to have uniforms that are comfortable, washable and that
will not melt and form hard beads that can drip into open wounds, exacerbating
injuries the way polyester fabrics do.
Wool already has some natural resistance to burning, but the
Department of Defense would like to have even more flame retardancy in their
Other potential uses include uniforms for people who are exposed to
extremely fire-hazardous situations, woolen underwear and sleepwear. Current
technologies to add heat resistance employ metals or chemicals that are
considered environmentally unfriendly.
In contrast, the new ARS technology was designed to be applied as a
finish to ARS-developed enzyme-polished, machine-washable wool. The compound
can be applied to yarn, fabric and finished garments, according to ARS research
chemist Jeanette M.
Cardamone, with the ARS
Oils and Animal Coproducts Research Unit of the
Regional Research Center, Wyndmoor, Penn. Cardamone developed the new
A business partner will be able to help more fully evaluate the new
technology's commercial potential, such as how long it will stand up to machine
Further details are available at ARS websites that
the technology and outline
how to obtain
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.