What are technical textiles?

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Modern fabric and textile design has given rise to a new genre of textiles. Technical textiles are fabrics that are manufactured mainly for their specific function and use and not for aesthetic purposes. This specialist group of textiles includes textiles for purposes such as:

  • Military and protective textiles
  • Health care and medical fabrics
  • Aerospace fabrics
  • Automotive fabrics
  • XD Spacer fabrics
  • Sports protection

1. Military and protective textiles:

The main aim for producing protective textiles and fabrics is to ensure that people are safe well in their workplaces. A technical protective fabrics are designed with the main aim in protection against specific hazards. Hazards in industries which need this kind of protective fabric can include:

  • Firemen: High temperatures and burns
  • Electric companies: Electric discharge
  • Welding: Metal sparks
  • Military and police: Bullet and stab impact
  • Astronaut’s suits

2. Health care and medical fabrics:

Health care and medical fabrics are produced to comply with health standards in these professions. The fabrics will have different finishes depending on their use, for example fabrics can have an antibacterial, a flame Retardant or a waterproof finish. They are used in many finished products such as the ones listed below:

  • Hospital mattresses and laundry bags
  • Patient’s dressings and slings
  • Treatment and prevention products
  • Wheelchairs covers
  • Wheelchair seating
  • Orthopaedic support

3. Aerospace fabrics:

Are fabrics which are designed to be strong enough to withstand the vast amounts of air pressure that aircraft’s experience. Carbon composites are generally the material that is used in the manufacture and production of the parts for the aeroplanes. Aerospace fabrics can be used in the production of aircraft components such as:

  • Hoses
  • Seals
  • Diaphragms
  • Rubber reinforcements

4. Automotive fabrics:

These fabrics are used primarily in the production of vehicles in the automotive industry. Different textiles are used for the different rubber reinforcements that are specifically needed. Examples of the components that can be produced using this technical textiles approach are:

  • Tyres: are form of carbon fibre textile is used here.
  • Air bags: A nylon based fabric gives a very high bursting strength to the product which in turn gives the air bags the strength to withstand the pressure that is exerted in them.

5. XD Spacer fabrics:

These are a range of three dimensional textiles which have many advantages of normal two dimensional fabrics. Advantages of this textile include that they have a high compression strength, are well insulated, highly durable, highly recyclable and they are also anti-bacterial. The XD Spacer fabrics are used in a wide range of products and it is quickly replacing foam and neoprene textiles. XD Spacer fabrics are used in products such as:

  • Cycle helmets
  • Medical products
  • Boot soles
  • Compression bandages
  • Firemen’s clothing
  • Body armour

6. Sports protection:

There is a massive range of sports protective fabrics available with many benefits, such as:

  • Comfort
  • Breath-ability
  • Flexibility
  • Rigidity
  • Strength
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Flame retardant

Because of these benefits, sports protection textiles are used in the production of many products, are few are:

  • Sports shoes
  • Sports equipment
  • Flying equipment
  • Sailing sports
  • Climbing gear
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Nick Barnett

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