We have more than 75 patented molecular configurations for how Activated Silk™ can be put to use. Here’s a look at one: a treatment for wool pilling.

What problem are we solving? We’re making clothing made from wool more attractive and longer-lasting by helping prevent it from forming pills. A number of fabrics are prone to pilling, but because wool is animal hair, it has a particular propensity among natural fibers for pilling. Wool has microscopic “scales” that rub against each other and create friction. That friction raises the fibers from the main fabric surface; those fibers then become entangled, eventually forming miniature balls that are particularly prone to showing up at stress points like under a sweater’s arms. An item of clothing littered with wool pilling is less attractive, and since pills essentially erode the fabric bit by bit, they can trigger holes.

How we solve it: The way to treat pilling is to keep pills from being formed, creating an anti-pill fabric from the start. We take the Activated Silk molecule and configure it into a patented formulation that smoothes out the scales of the individual wool fibers. It doesn’t remove the scales, which are a natural feature of wool, but it partially fills in the fibers so the scales don’t stand out from the wool—thus removing friction from the equation.

How conventional textile finishers solve it: Most wool on the market is treated with what’s known as a Hercosett process, in which wool is washed with chlorine (which smoothes out the fibers’ scales by eroding them) and then treated with Hercosett, a polymer resin. One byproduct of this treatment: a high AOX value—a measure of adsorbable organic halogens, a group of chemical compounds that are suspected to carry a health risk—which is known to pollute the wastewater the process creates. Dioxins, one of the compounds that fall under AOX, are considered highly toxic by the Environmental Protection Agency.

How is Activated Silk for wool pilling integrated into the manufacturing process? The same way that conventional anti-pilling agents are. The manufacturing process is the same; it’s simply a matter of swapping out conventional chemistry for our safe, natural liquid silk formulation.

The result: Wool clothing, blankets, and other wool items that last longer, that are fully biocompatible with the human body, and that help maintain harmony with the planet.

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