The Ultimate Orientation Of Technical Textiles: A Fresh Insight

The Ultimate Orientation of Technical Textiles: A Fresh Insight
Shohag Chandra Das
Department of wet processing engineering,
Bangladesh University of Textiles(BUTEX),Dhaka.
From the crack of dawn of the history ,textile has been an obligate part of human life and it is still becoming more inevitable day by day when technology is entering into our lifestyle .Very few portions of daily life are without textile. However, with the development of science and technology ,textile is becoming more technical and more versatile.

The application of textile in technical and functional purpose is known as technical textile. It is not used for aesthetic purposes rather than function that makes it different from other textiles. Sometimes it is called by smart textile depending on application that can sense and react to environmental stimuli, which may be mechanical, thermal, chemical, biological and magnetic amongst others (TAO 2001) These are made with variety of fibers, filaments, yarns depending on the goal of end product. Sometimes natural and sometimes  synthetic  whatever is more suitable for specific purpose. The most important thing is technical textile can maintain several things that traditional textiles can not. However , technical textile does not mean only yarn –fabric, it can be a dye particle also which is used in technical purpose.

Fig 1- Technical textile at a glance

Nowadays, we are not talking merely of fabrics and textiles imparting information; We are talking about much more. Nor are we referring to fabrics that may have multifunctionl purposes, such as fashion and environmental protection, or rainwear, or those fabrics providing resistance to a plethora of threats, such as ballistic, chemical and flame protection. we are talking here about materials or structures that sense and react to environmental stimuli, such as those from mechanical, thermal, chemical, magnetic or others. We are talking ‘smart’ and ‘active’ systems. We are talking about the true merger of the textile and information industries. Smart textiles’ are made possible due to advances in many technologies.

Technical textile composition by region:





                    WESTERN EUROPE








                    REST OF THE WORLD


Chart -1: technical textile composition by area

Fiber wise composition of technical textile:

The use of fibers in technical textile are given below:









Jute ,coir 






Other cellulosic fiber




Aramid ,carbon and others


Chart -2: Fiber wise composition of technical textile

There are, naturally, many more applications for ‘smart’ textiles than those applied to military personnel, or civilian police, firemen, and emergency responders. Mountain climbers, sports personnel, businessmen with built-in wearable microcomputers, and medical personnel will all benefit from this revolution in textiles.

Promotion of technology for textiles:

The nature is the main inspiration  in order to create our clothing materials with higher levels of functions and smartness. The development of microfibres is a very good example, starting from studying and mimicking silk first, then creating finer and, in many ways, better fibres. However, up to now,most textiles and clothing have been lifeless. It would be wonderful to have clothing like our skin, which is a layer of smart material. The skin has sensors which can detect pressure, pain, temperature, etc. Together with our brain, it can function intelligently with environmental stimuli.

 Figure-2: A single cell living creature is an example of smart structures

Fibres used in technical textile:

There are both natural and synthetic fibres used in technical purpose depending on end purpose. Here is some top applied fibres:

  • Polyethylene
  • Polyester
  • Nylon
  • Carbon
  • Polypropylene
  • Aramid
  • Metal
  • Glass
  • Ceramic
  • Nano fibres
  • Piezoelectric  fibres etc.                                                      

Ultimate areas of technical textiles:

The leading international trade exhibition for technical textiles – Techtextil (http:// – defines 11 main application areas.The area of  application of technical textile which paves the way for future textile are broadly discussed below:

1. Protech – Innovations in personal and property protection. To apply  textile technology in protective fabric( protective textiles) for increasing work safety ,normally said as PPE(Personal protective equipment).these are used in:

  • Water and wind resistant clothing
  • Heat and flame resistant clothing
  • Antimicrobial clothing
  • Radiant heat protective clothing
  • Chemicals protective clothing
  • Fire fighter suits
  • Biohazard Survival Suit
  • Bomb Disposal Suit
  • Environment Suit
  • Blast suits
  • Extreme Environmental Clothing
  • Army Combat Shirt
  • High-visibility (HV) Clothing
  • Anti-Static Clothing
  • Industrial Work wear;
  • Lifejacket (Personal Flotation Device)
  • Motorcycle Personal Protective Clothing
  • NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical
  • Clean room Suit
  • Arc Flash Protection Clothing
  • Racing (Race Car Driver’s) Suit
  • Flight Suit

Figure-3: Structure of water proof  breathable garment, fireproof garment, spacesuit and   bulletproof vast.

2.Buildtech –To applys textile technology in constraction work(geo textiles) such as road construction, dam construction, soil sealing, drainage system etc. Sometimes it is thought as construction textiles.Textile products for membrane construction, lightweight and solid structures, earthworks, hydraulic engineering, and road construction. Nowadays we are most focused in more sunlight, greener, high performance, cost saving and sustainable structure.To fulfill that requirements textile play a fundamental role.Due to special properties like high strength ,modulus, elongation, flexibility etc textile is used in civil engineering.

Another term is Geotextile which is used in contact with soil and other materials in geotechnical and civil engineering. Any permeable textile material used for filtration, drainage, separation, reinforcement and stabilization purpose as an integral part of civil engineering structures of earth, rock,other constructional materials.

Some fibres used in geo textiles are : Ramie ,Jute ,Coir ,Polyester ,Polyamides  ,Aramid ,Polyethylene ,Polyvinyl chloride,HDPE,PET

 Figure-4: Technical textile in build tech and geo tech

3. Clothtech – To apply textile technology in clothing applications like Innovations in shoe and clothing manufacture. Can you think what would happen if your dress can recognize your body health and your position ?However, wearable technology is making headlines nowadays: smart watches and health trackers are so 2014;wearable fashion tech is all the range. If you want to get in on the wearable trend ,forget about getting the latest apple watch. Smart clothing is the next wave of disruptive technology that is woven into our daily fabrics-literally so.

The interest in wearable fashion tech goes beyond wrist-worn accessories.Like superman who gains superpower from his magic cape,smart garments can empower us all around to give us superpower .The same chips and sensors that powered smartwatches can be embedded in fabrics,which is what made the garmentssmart .Because they are in close contact with our skin-the largestorgan of body.the embedded smart tags and sensors are getting thinner and more invisible.Recently, smart clothing makers such as Primo 1D have developed e-thread with ultra high frequency RFID directly woven into the fabrics.

Not surprisingly, many smart clothes are focused on monitoring and improving sports performance. For instance, smart shirts and shorts have the capacity to accurately track real time health data such as heart rate ,movement, respiration, breathing etc.

Smart sleep wear helps a person to sleep properly .The garment has bioceramic particles woven into its fabric, which helps to absorb infrared weave lengths and helps to reduce inflammation while an athlete is sleeping.

Figure-5: Wearable technology/Cloth Tech

4. Hometech – To apply textile technology in domestic environment such as carpeting ,decoration, wall coverings , curtains,cuhion covers,pillowcases blanket ,Innovations in the manufacture of furniture, upholstery, floor coverings, and carpets etc. However, the global home textile market  demand is expected to reach 160+ billion dollars by 2025.

The most recent research in home textile is antibacterial coating on fabric which helps to keep safe from germs. Mainly on bed sheet ,towel, pillow cover which have much  possibility of getting attack of bacteria or germs. For this purpose ,the fabric is treated with antibacterial agents .As a result , the antimicrobial agent chemically bind on the surface of treated fabric and do not detach from surface by its own. Microbes are killed by agent when become  in contact with treated fabric.

Moreover ,a new research finds that  towel which changes its color itself when it get dirt and affected by bacteria.

Figure-6: technology in home textile

5. Sportech To  apply of textile technology in sport instruments(sports  textiles) such as shoes, special dressup, sport bags, climbing, angling, cycling etc. Foe fulfilling this purpose  ,textile must have some properties .such as: comport ability, easy to wear, easy handling ,high electrical conductivity, light weight, wicking properties, elastic properties, much strength etc.

Some area of application of sport textiles are swimming costume, artificial turfs, sleeping bags ,ballooning  and parachute fabrics ,sports footwear etc.

Figure-7: application of sportech

6. Medtech – To applytextile technology in medical life(medical textiles) such as first aid, clinical, hygienic purpose. Medical textiles are an important part of the large variety of technical textile products, ranging from high volume disposable products for baby dispwes, feminine hygiene, specialized and high-value textile products for use in blood filtration ,surgical sutures, prostheses and scaffolds for new tissue growth.

The most innovative use of textile in medical is artificial body tissue ,joint, ligament and organ(liver, kidney, lungs, heart, bone, etc).

Here some more applications of medical textile. such as:

  • Skin closure tape
  • Allograft skin tissue processing
  • Urinary incontinence sling
  • Pacemaker lead anchor

The recent research has created  flexible yarn from  human skin cells, which can be knitted ,crocheted or weaved into unique patterns for medical purpose. The threads can be used in surgery to help treat animals and humans. Scientists say it will not be rejected by the immune system of the recipient. Cells called fibroblasts from  an  animal can be used to make sheets of skins in a lab. Already the French  researchers have used the material in operation on animals and say it could be used to make 'Human textiles' for tissue grafts or organ repair in the furture.

According to CNN health, a group of researchers has come up with a unique form of yarn made up of human skin cells that could soon  replace conventional sutures in surgical procedures.

Figure-8: Yarn made from  human cells used in human textiles

7. Agrotech To apply textile products for agriculture,aquaculture,forestry, horticulture, and landscape gardening with the aim of improving yield, efficiency and profitability.Agrotextile include use of plant net,sunscreen,bird protection net,ground cover,mulch mat,monofil net,anti-hailstone net,harvesting net,wind shield,root ball net,insect meshes,weed control gabric,net and ground cover made of polyolefin as well as jute,wool fibres. Moreover, crop production, cattle breeding,regulate nutrient level intake of plants and assist the process.

It can be used in fishing industry in the form of nets,ropes and lines,to prevent the soil from drying out increase crop yield, to protect farmer from harmful pesticides, to improve product quality, to save energy in field as possible as , to thermal protection, to prevent insect contact with food or crop and to reduce workers and work load.

Some properties that is required for agrotextile product are: tensile strength. Withstands solar radiation, withstands uv radiation, bio degradability, abrasion resistance,high potential to retain water, protection property, resistance to microorganism, lightweight etc.

Figure-9: Textile in agriculture

8. Oeko-tex To appliy textile in environmental protection (ecological protection textile) such as preventing soil erosion ,water pollution, waste recycling etc. It Is also called ecological textile.

It is used in the landfill waste management which refers to use of geo-systhetic products to secure landfills against leakage of municipal or hazardous waste. It can be used in the secondary protection in chemical /oil industries(ground covers and like around processes tanks for secondary containment). Floor sealing erosion protection, air cleaning, prevention of water pollution, water cleaning, waste treatment, despositing area construction, production extraction ,domestic water sewerage plants.

Figure-10: Textile in environment protection

Some eco friendly textile fibers are:

  • Organic cotton, organic wool, organic silk, hemp
  • Man made soya bean, Lyocell;
  • Recycled cotton, recycled wool
  • Naturally colored cotton

9. Mobiltech –To apply textiles for ship and aerospace construction as well as automotive, railway,space travel and many more high tech –high performance application.

Automobile is the largest area of that which controls followings: seats, seat covers, seat belts, air bag, door casings, parcel shelves, dashboard, knee air bag, sun visors, luggage nettings, carpets, air filters, oil filters, battery separator, hood liners etc. Moreover ,nylon tyre cord, helmets, airline disposables are also part of mobiltech.

The most recent use is in the construction of car and aircraft material with carbon fibre composite. Because of carbon fibre having light weight, high tensile strength, high chemical resistance, high stiffness,EM transparent, low thermal expansion and low weight properties. A carbon fibre has a lot of good properties which makes it a very good material for different industries to use.Here is on right a graph showing the stiffness/strength of a carbon fibre with respect to its density.

 Figure-11: Young modulus of carbon                                                           

Fig 12- Some applications of Mobiltech

10. Indutech – To apply textile technology in chemical and electrical applications(industrial textiles)such as filtration, seals, plasma screes, melting process ,Products for mechanical engineering and for chemical and electrical industries etc. specific products under indutech include filters, wipes, felts and three dimensional textile products. The textile includes ropes, which occupy the prime position in the market and are used in shipping, ports, oil  rigs, and defense areas. Computer printer ribbons and computer printer refills are indutech products that are made up of acrylic butadiene styrene and are expected to grow rapidly in the market due to the excessive rate of computerization. Market for wet filtration filter cloth,made of iindutech woven and non woven materials is also expected to increase gradually.

Figure-13: Technical textile in industry

11. Packtech – Innovations in packaging, covering, and transportation. To ensure scratch free and safe handling of sensitive articles textile partitioned boxes are an ideal option.

Some products of packtech are:

  • Woven sacks of polyolefin
  • FIBC (flexible intermediate bulk containers)
  • Leno bags
  • Wrapping fabric
  • Kute hessain and sacks
  • Tea bags
  • Soft luggage products

Super technical textile: 

The future of technical textiles includes a much wider economic sphere of activity than only the direct manufacturing and processing of textiles: Technical and performance textiles represent an emerging generation of products combining the latest developments in advanced flexible materials with advances in computing and communications technology, biomaterials, nanotechnology, and novel process technologies.

Many exciting applications have been demonstrated worldwide. Extended from the space programme, heat generating/storing fibres/fabrics have now been used in skiwear, shoes, sports helmets and insulation devices. Textile fabrics and composites integrated with optical fibre sensors have been used to monitor the health of major bridges and buildings. From decades ,the area of textile is increasing and the area of research also spreading. Some area of future reseach for technological textile or smart textile are:

Figure-14: The future fabric; will be able to change own colour and design

  • At first the consideration about water will be thought. Because 1 kg cotton production costs 29,000 liters of water not to mention the chemicals used for farming ,cleaning, and dyeing of fabrics. That is why is it no longer late to produce colourful cotton by genetic modification.
  • The yarn will be smart yarn by which all the function of a smart watch can be done.
  • To colour the synthetic textile materials, a new process of dyeing named spray dyeing will be developed soon which will reduce the amount of dye during dyeing.
  • Digital printing methods have been developed to produce jeans wear that look worn instead of the dyeing and stone washing of conventional manufacturing.
  • Smart textiles for smart home control and enriching future wireless sensor network data.

However last but not least, technical textile is going to be a blessing for our future life and something special is coming which will take us beyond every limites.

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