The SympaTex recyclable Membrane

SympaTex (Ski)SympaTex Technologies, a German maker of membranes, laminates, and textiles, has been working with selected partners around the world to create outdoor apparel, footwear, protective workwear and apparel accessories for more than 25 years.  One of their biggest products, the SympaTex Membrane is unique in its approach to the difficult problem of creating waterproof and windproof outer layers for wind, rain and snow that remain ‘breathable’.

Most membranes, such as Gore-Tex or GE’s eVent, consist of billions of micropores too small for water droplets, but big enough for water vapour to escape.  While a smaller risk in modern waterproof and windproof membranes, pores can get clogged and the adhesion to laminated fabrics can weaken.  The SympaTex Membrane is poreless.  It first absorbs moisture and sweat from the body, something akin to a sponge, then transports it across the membrane from inside to outside through its molecular structure using your body heat to help the evaporation process.  A solid monolithic membrane (no pores or seams) provides better lamination, and SympaTex is made from a combination of polyester (for strength) and polyether (to transport the water molecules) that also makes it recyclable.

SympaTex (Membrane Properties)The SympaTex membrane can be laminated onto a wide variety of woven fabrics, knitwear, fleece, foam and leather.  The most common for the Outdoor and SnowSports industries is a 2 layer laminate consisting of the SympaTex membrane and a high performance stretch nylon outer shell.  On the inside will often be a non-laminated breathable mesh or other fabric to protect the membrane and add durability.  SympaTex also makes 2.5, 3, and 4 layer laminated membrane-fabric combinations for more extreme conditions, as well as footwear.

In Australia, Jandy’s, the distributor for outdoor gear such as Scott, has teamed up with SympaTex to design a new range of outdoor apparel and footwear.  Prototypes have recently been developed and samples given for testing to the Ski School at Thredbo.  Announcements of the full range and test results are likely later in the year around the time of the Snowsports Industries of Australia (SIA) trade show.

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