Independent testing has confirmed the viability of a new, natural-based high performance fabric option for sporting applications.

Laboratory testing by the Hohenstein Research Institute demonstrated that plaited NatureWorks/cotton fabric performs better than plaited Polyester/cotton fabric. The results of the testing concluded that wearers of NatureWorks/cotton fabric will experience improved physiological comfort versus Polyester/cotton faced fabric.

NatureWorks fiber is the revolutionary new material made entirely from annually renewable resources, such as corn. Developed by Cargill Dow, these fibers feature the comfort and feel of natural fibers while performing as well or better than synthetics.

"Cargill Dow has developed a natural fabric alternative that competes with traditional fibers in feel, comfort, cost and performance," said Jim Lunt, director of fibers product development. "The testing reaffirms NatureWorks fiber is a valuable addition to the evolving fibers market, notably in active wear."

While NatureWorks fiber has applications in a variety of fiber and nonwoven products, the Hohenstein testing focused on sporting and active wear conditions. In sporting applications the fiber's inherent benefits include increased breathability, water vapor absorbency, and overall comfort - all key selling points with consumers.

Tests carried out by Hohenstein included measurements of water vapor resistance, short time water vapor absorbency, buffering capacity, thermal insulation, and sensorial wear comfort. The results of these tests were used to determine the total wear comfort using a predictive model. NatureWorks/cotton performed better than Polyester/cotton in four of the skin modeling tests and in two out of the three sensorial tests. The remaining tests found the two fabrics to perform equally well. Additional details from the Hohenstien tests can be found on Cargill Dow's website at www.cdpoly.com.

"NatureWorks fiber is the first material to allow production of fabric that successfully bridges the gap between natural fibers and synthetics." Lunt said. "The result is a unique property spectrum, allowing the creation of products with superior hand and touch, drape, comfort, moisture management, UV resistance and resilience."

Cargill Dow is working closely with industry leaders and brand name customers to have products made from NatureWorks fibers available as early as this fall. Fiber applications under development include apparel fabrics made from 100 percent NatureWorks fiber, as well as blends with wool, silk and cotton.

About Cargill Dow
Based in Minnetonka, Minn, Cargill Dow is a 50:50 joint venture between Cargill Incorporated and The Dow Chemical Company. It is the first company to offer its customers a family of polymers derived entirely from annually renewable resources with the cost and performance necessary to compete with traditional fibers and packaging materials. The company has achieved this breakthrough by applying its NatureWorks technology to the processing of natural plant sugars to create a proprietary polylactide polymer (PLA). Future applications of the technology could include use in injection blow molded bottles, foams, emulsions and chemical intermediaries.