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Offering a combination of eco-friendly chemistry and high performance, Altopel F3® is the effective PFC-free solution for water repellency.

In the world of performance attire, durable water repellency is often a major requirement. Increasingly, so is sustainability, but blending the two into a product that works over time has been a continuing challenge for the industry. 

Now Bolger & O’Hearn Inc. — one of the industry’s most respected developers of textile chemistries — has introduced an advanced PFC-free water repellent finish that is both environmentally-friendly and long-lasting.

Called Altopel F3®, Bolger & O’Hearn’s new finish is the leading fluorine-free water repellent on the market and a game changer in the world of environmentally-friendly, durable water repellent (DWR) finishes. F3, in fact, stands for ‘Fluorine-Free Finish.’

Although attempts have been made by others to develop effective fluorine-free DWR’s, many to date have lost durability after a handful of washings. Altopel F3®, on the other hand, has been proven to last through 50-plus washes when applied to 100 percent nylon or 100 percent polyester and has a 20 to 30-wash performance on cotton. When applied correctly to a substrate, Altopel F3 also does not impact hand or air permeability.

Several major performance brands have started using Altopel F3® with great success. Polartec, as just one example, is using Altopel F3®.

“No matter how good your intentions, we believe that sustainability without performance isn’t sustainable.”

Altopel F3® is a bluesign® system-approved product, and Bolger & O’Hearn is a certified bluesign® partner. Bluesign® is a global textile industry program that sets stringent standards and controls for environmentally-safe textile production.

“When applied correctly, Altopel F3® will provide excellent water-repellency and abrasion resistance,” said Shaun O’Hearn, Vice President, Bolger & O’Hearn. “Bluesign® provides one of the best ratings in the textile industry for sustainable manufacturing practices and we are proud to be a bluesign® partner. At the same time, products have to perform. No matter how good your intentions, we believe that sustainability without performance isn’t sustainable.”

Frank Keohan, Senior Technology Manager at Bolger and O’Hearn, said Altopel F3® is a water-based system that contains no fluorocarbons or VOCs. A significant portion of the weight composition is plant material. The technology is based on a novel, complementary bonding mechanism that works by forming what Keohan described as a “flexible and protective shell around each individual fiber so that it resists being removed.”

It’s even more effective than many traditional fluorine-based DWRs, which is another reason why the environmental implications are significant.

“Fluoro-chemicals are very stable materials,” said Keohan. “They are so stable and resistant to biodegradation that they can bio-accumulate. This poses the possibility that over time fluorine can build up in an eco-system, which could pose a hazard. It’s important to us to develop textile chemistries that are safe to work with and safer for the global environment,” Keohan added.

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