When it comes to the variety of uses for technical fabric, it’s clear that they run the gamut. From architectural to medical applications and many more in between. This wide range of functionality has led to the development of several different types of technical fabrics, each with its own set of performance characteristics. In this article, we present the 5 most important technical fabric performance characteristics, for their respective applications.
Important Performance Factors
1. Resistance to the Elements
Most technical fabrics end products experience a fair amount of exposure to the elements, even if not for their entire lifespan. Therefore resistance to weather and environment conditions is crucial, including sunlight and UV radiation, extremely high or low environmental temperatures, and seawater salinity. Color stability also falls under this category. Uses involving harsh weather conditions include architectural, marine, and environmental control applications.
2. Abrasion Resistance
In some cases, technical fabrics need to have excellent abrasion resistance in order to avoid catastrophic failure and ensure a suitable lifespan. This is especially important when the fabric comes in contact with abrasive sand and grit, under high mechanical loads. Notable examples include the construction of inflatable lifting bags, pipe plugs, boat fenders, white water kayaks and rafts, and flexible storage tanks.
3. Antibacterial Properties
Resistance to bacterial growth is an important property for many technical fabric applications. In the construction of RIB boats, white water rafts, and oil booms, antibacterial properties prevent the development of mold. For flexible storage tanks, they protect from biofilm and odors occurring, particularly important in potable water storage.
4. Chemical Compatibility
Considering chemical compatibility is important, whenever the application of the technical fabric includes contact with chemical substances. For example, flexible storage tanks may need different types of technical fabrics. This will depend on whether they are intended for storing liquids like fuels, oils, aquatic foodstuff, solvents, and highly basic or acidic solutions. The same goes for marine applications where products may come in contact with chemicals. This can occur on working boats in harbors, oil booms, and use in oil drilling rigs or tankers.
5. Mechanical Stress Endurance
In many applications, technical fabrics experience prolonged exposure to very high mechanical stress. For example, in architectural shading and roofing, high-velocity winds require the use of technical fabrics exhibiting high tear strength and elastic instead of plastic (long term) deformation. Moreover, inflatable boat construction, as well as inflatable lifting bags, pipe plugs, boat fenders, white water kayaks, and rafts call for technical textiles with increased pressure resistance.
The Right Technical Fabric for the Job
Using the appropriate technical fabric for your specific application can make the difference between end-product failure or success. Erez is a technical fabric manufacturer experienced in many types of applications, and the vendor of choice for select world-class product manufacturers. Request a free consultation to receive an expert review of your product specifications.