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Aderans Research & Development

Surpassing “Cyber Hair” and “Vital Hair,” the development of artificial hair that is not inferior to human hair is underway

Only Aderans among a large number of wig manufacturers continues the manufacturing and development of artificial hair. AD Research and Development Division never loses its interest and continuously challenges itself in the development of artificial hair that is close to human hair. Ultimate wigs matching individual hair qualities and frizzy hair features will be emerging in the very near future.

In the previously published “Aderams plus” Vol. 2 (Summer 2014), Professor Takeshi Kikutani of the Tokyo Institute of Technology, who is an advisor for the Aderans Laboratory for Human Hair, stated that:
“Artificial hair which we are developing with Aderans gets closer to human hair.” So, what type of artificial hair can you imagine?
At the 13th Asian Textile Conference (ATC-13) held at Deakin University in Australia in November 2015, Masatoshi Seki, Researcher at the AD Research and Development Division, delivered an oral presentation on “new artificial hair”as the outcomes of his research and development. We also asked Professor Kikutani who had continuously been giving his valuable advices to the development of artificial hair to join this interview and talk about the details of new artificial hair.

What is new artificial hair successfully having cuticles of human hair?

桑名 隆一郎 医師

Masatoshi Seki:I would like to go over a little of what we have previously discussed. Vital Hair is artificial hair having a dual structure of “core” and “shaft” with flexibility and beautiful textures, which was developed using semi-aromatic nylon for the core and nylon 6 for the shaft. “In the future, artificial hair which gets closer to human hair will be developed by adding polyester to achieve bounce and resilience.”

Was this presentation about artificial hair developed by using nylon as the main material to which polyester was added?

Takeshi Kikutani:Yes, it was about the development of the indented surface close to cuticles of human hair by adding and kneading polyester into nylon. Through the process of working out the conditions, we successfully made it into new artificial hair product.

Seki:There are some requirements for the performance of artificial hair, including glossy finish, that is, shiny looking, which holds a prominent position in the decision of the value of the product. General purpose plastic materials, such as nylon and polyester, look shiny without any treatment. So, what is the method for removing shiny looking from plastic materials? There are many different ways for that, and as one of them, we tried to forcefully generate the indented surface by adding some foreign matters.

I heard that Vital Hair developed using nylon could get the surface close to cuticles by cooling it for a certain period of time after spinning thread.

Seki:If polyester is used, the indented surface can be generated by soaking hair in a very strong alkali. In fact, however, it is significantly difficult to control the process, including investment in equipment, that develops hair into the product that can meet certain criteria. This time, we added polyester to nylon as a base under certain conditions in an effort to make the process of controlling relatively easy. As a result, the shiny looking was eliminated from the surface and the indented surface appeared.

“Core” and “shaft.” For the structure, did you use nylon for the shaft and polyester for the core?

Kikutani: It was totally different. Instead, this artificial hair has a structure of “ocean” and “islands.” It is like “islands of polyester are floating in an ocean of nylon.” The indented surface can appear by controlling this situation.

What is it like controlling the situation where the whole area is made of nylon with some floating dots of polyester?

Kikutani:First, there is a basic principle. The basic research has been performed and shown that thread (artificial hair) having the indented surface similar to cuticles of human hair can be produced when the condition for the combination of some materials and that for developing thread are met. The principle of appearance of the indented surface and to which degree the surface can be indented have been known in details. We properly measured the reflectance features of human hair and searched the conditions to be met. This is something to do with manufacturing.

Is that a totally different spinning method from that for Vital Hair?

Seki:We use the melt spinning method in which the resin of the material that is heat melted will be extruded and molded into thread. It is basically the same method for Vital Hair.

Which is the biggest change, the change before the extrusion or that after the extrusion?

Seki:Both processes before and after the extrusion of resin are important because they can change the stability and the specific characteristics of hair when manufactured. We examine the whole manufacturing conditions including those conditions. We also examine the approaches from the materials to be used.

Can artificial hair having the indented surface similar to cuticles of human hair get suppleness of human hair?

Kikutani:We are currently challenging that issue to find out how we can employ its suppleness.

Seki:We could successfully bring out the reflectance features close to cuticles of human hair. However, since the base is nylon, we need to find out in which way we can bring out suppleness and resilience of human hair.

Do you bring out softness by bringing out suppleness and resilience?

Kikutani:It is actually the other way around. New artificial hair is too soft.

I thought soft hair is always good.

Seki:When actually manufacturing the wig, we face other issues associated with the value of the product, such as the appearance, the touch, and the usability, which cannot be shown as the values of the physical properties measured using the measuring instruments. That is why soft hair does not always mean good.

When will new artificial hair be launched in the market? And, the world of new wigs

桑名 隆一郎 医師

If you can freely make artificially hard or soft hair, you are able to make different hair types depending on each patient. Is it correct?

Seki:Yes, it is, eventually.

Dr. Kikutani, at the previous interview, you said artificial hair was a very interesting challenge in polymer science. What do you think about this new artificial hair?

Kikutani:When I think about the conditions under which the indented surface can appear well and those reasons, I can see something interesting happening. Because we can now explain the basic principle of abundant appearance of the indented surface by adopting the structure of “Ocean and Islands” consisting of nylon and polyester and its phenomenon based on polymer science.

Dr. Kikutani, you also said at the previous interview that the development of a custom-made wig for each patient could be possible. In that sense, hair having the original textures of each patient’s hair, such as the color, hardness, resilience, suppleness, and softness, can be made, right?

Kikutani:Yes, I think I talked about it before. A wig that can match the hair type of each patient can be made by checking the hair types of patients one by one. The goal is about to come into view.

Will it be possible to make men’s and women’s wigs separately if new artificial hair can be handled in a proper manner?

Seki:Since we have only seen the future direction new artificial hair will follow, it may take a very long time to see it coming in a variety of types…

Kikutani:Since hair is still in its manufacturing stage, it will take times.

For new artificial hair, will nylon 6 be continuously used as a base in the future?

Seki:Currently, nylon 6 is used as a base. After obtaining advices from Dr. Kikutani, I am thinking to try various nylon materials.

By the way, what types of new nylon materials are available?

Kikutani:Nylon comes in a variety of types. Technically, nylon contains the amide bonds. Nylon that was first manufactured by DuPont was Nylon 66. The term “nylon” is followed by a variety of numbers, such as “nylon 12.” Nowadays, the term has gotten further complicated, i.e., some terms have combined numbers and others contain chemical structures, indicating that nylon with a variety of characteristics has been developed. By mixing various materials with nylon 6, which is mainly used, you can make the most appropriate artificial hair. However, it is all up to the prices of those materials.

I know people are waiting to see the product. When will it be launched in the market?

Seki:We are trying to release it into the market as early as possible. Artificial hair is, even its material units are in favorable condition, unpredictable until it is made into a wig. The internal evaluation of the finished product of wig is important, so it is very difficult to pass the checkpoint. There are many criteria that must be met before marketing. Depending on the situations in which comments and opinions on wigs from the field of sales actually handling those are revealed, the timing of marketing will be different. How new artificial hair can meet the individual needs of customers will become the challenge we have to face in the future.

I would like to ask Professor Kikutani, who is the president of the Society of Fiber Science and Technology, Japan, the most authoritative in the fiber industry. What types of new materials, which are expected to be used for the development of artificial hair, are available in the polymer science?

Kikutani:This is what I gave a speech about at the Asian Textile Conference last year. Generally, a high temperature, like 120°C, is required to dye polyester. I am developing the technology in which molecular orientation, crystallization, and dyeing can be simultaneously performed while fibers are extended at the normal temperature using safe organic solvent. If I can adopt this technology to artificial hair, its color can be possibly matched to the original hair color of each patient in the future.

Interviewer/writer: Akiyoshi Sato Photographer: Kuninobu Akutsu, Naoyuki Tamura

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