Various papers on styling functionality will be presented at the show's 'Spring Avant Institute Symposium' to help explain the differing protein architecture and morphology of human hair and the types of polymers that may better control the behavior of specific hair-fiber assemblies.
Among the speakers is Manuel Gamez-Garcia, Ph.D., who has studied how hair has many structural features and properties in common with shape memory polymers (SMPs).
While Ashland's Dr. Gamez-Garcia is set to present experimental and model observations indicating that hair is a shape memory biopolymer which, like its polymer counterpart, stores a permanent shape in its crystalline phase and temporary shape primarily in its amorphous phase.
The scientists reckon that their observations may help the hair care industry determine better styling strategies for permanent waving, alkaline straightening and hot iron treatments.
Working to understand the hair's complexities
Whether hair is fine or coarse, straight or curly, each has its own styling process requirements that enable consumers to obtain their desired look.
Complexity in the styling process is often attributed to the high degree of diversity in hair types around the world.
Morphological differences such as fiber diameter, cross-sectional shape, cuticular conformation, and fiber configuration (including the degree of curl) substantially affect physical behavior and thus the ability to style hair.
In fact, Ashland's Ray Rigoletto of global R&D applications has studied how these differences in hair morphology affect both single-fiber mechanical properties and hair behavior as a fiber assembly.
The researcher is set to present the results of this, which he says demonstrates the cosmetic effects of hair-fixative polymers and their performance dependence on the nature of polymer-fiber assemblies governed by the morphology of various hair types.
The Avant Institute was set up by Ashland in 2009 to promote scientific research relevant to the development of technologies for the personal care industry.
Held twice a year, the invitation-only symposium serves as a forum to advance the latest ideas in science and to apply that knowledge in commercialization activities.