What is carpet wicking

From application technology - fluoropolymer-based stain protection - CEBE Reinigungsschemie GmbH

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From application technology - fluoropolymer-based stain protection

There are some differences between fluoropolymer based stain repellants and those based on silicone or hydrocarbon. The most important of these is oleophobic or oil-repellent properties.
A stain protection is based on the principle of lowering the critical surface tension of a surface, in contrast to a wetting agent, which lowers the surface tension of a liquid so that it can wet a surface with a higher critical surface tension.
The fluoropolymer-based protection forms a kind of barrier by lowering the critical surface tension: liquids do not wet the surface as well and cannot spread through the wicking effect. In addition, dry dirt does not adhere as well and is easier to remove.
It should be noted at this point that a stain protector is not able to completely seal a porous fabric or fiber.
As long as capillary action is the only driving force, the stain protection prevents penetration into the fabric or fiber and spreading through the wicking effect (the beading effect). As soon as the spilled substance penetrates the fiber or fabric with force (spilled from a height, for example) and is water-based, the stain protection prevents deeper penetration and thus facilitates removal, but it does not roll off. In the case of oily substances, even deeper penetration can take place in this case, since the oil has a lower surface tension than the water and thus overcomes the barrier created by the stain protection.
This is clear from Table 1, which gives the critical surface tension for some surfaces and liquids. In general, it can be said that a difference of 18 dynes / cm has a repellent effect.
Table 1 - Critical surface tensions for various surfaces and liquids
Based on this value, the table shows that the critical surface tension of polypropylene roughly corresponds to that of the oils listed. Thus, oils wet polypropylene more easily and bind more easily to its surface.
If polypropylene is treated with a fluoropolymer, the whole thing shifts and oils roll off the surface.
If the polypropylene is treated with a silicone-based product, the difference in critical surface tension is only about 6 dynes / cm. There is therefore no repellent effect.
When it comes to fluoropolymers, you also have to distinguish between the individual areas of application: Products that are formulated for carpets, such as our carpet stain protection, tend to have a dirt-repellent effect, as not only stains but also the ingress of dirt play a major role in carpets.
This is where the fluoropolymer helps, as the dirt cannot adhere so well to the carpet fibers and is therefore easier to remove.
Products for upholstery, such as our all-fiber stain protection, are formulated to be oil- and water-repellent, as it is more about stains and oils or fats from the skin.
When it comes to the effectiveness of the fluopolymer, the most important influencing factor is its concentration. In principle, a fluoropolymer content of 0.1 to 0.4% is sufficient to provide the carpet or fabric with adequate protection.
Since most products are water-based, it may be tempting to use water to dilute the product. This should only be done if it is expressly stated on the product label or application sheet.
It should be noted immediately that most products are supplied as a ready-to-use solution for this purpose.
Another influencing factor is the structure of the fibers on carpeting. A smooth, even surface is ideal here. A sling is therefore generally better equipped than a velor with the same treatment.
For the best possible result, the carpet or fabric should be as clean as possible. Any residues of dirt or cleaning agents have a negative impact on the stain protection equipment.
When used, especially on velor, the product should be finely sprayed and then brushed in to achieve maximum effectiveness.
In principle, fluoropolymer-based stain protection works best when the fluoropolymer chains (molecules) are oriented outwards. This can be achieved in carpet production by heating the carpet to 130 ° C. This procedure is not realistic for on-site retrofitting and also explains why factory equipment is more effective than retrofitting.
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