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Polymer Enhancement of Technical Textiles

Polymer Enhancement of Technical Textiles by Roy W. Buckley
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Technical textiles are high performance speciality materials. They are produced in both woven, knitted and nonwoven forms for specific functions. Applications are found in inflatable structures such as airships and lifeboats, tents, as reinforcement in composites for construction, as body armour and vehicle protection, in filters, as a base for flexible printed circuits, hose and conveyor belts, tyres, etc. In composite construction, textiles are ideal materials as they are very lightweight but strong, and thus can be used to substitute heavy steel panels in aircraft and vehicles. Many smaller bridges are now being constructed using such composites.

Research and development is proceeding at a rapid pace because of the adaptability of textiles for different functions and the ability to modify properties using polymer treatments. The most commonly known example is the rubber treatment of fabrics to reduce permeability to water in lifeboats and oil booms. Developmental projects include protective suits where textiles are being treated with a polymer which leaves an absorbent coating; when the suit is exposed to chemicals, the absorbent takes up the chemical thus protecting the wearer. Textiles are also being made in adaptable forms, so that colours can be changed for camouflage purposes, insulation or conductivity. There is a very exciting future ahead for polymer enhanced technical textiles.

The way in which the fabric is formed affects the dimensional strength and the coatability of the material. Some of the different weave types are described in this review, together with the common methods of application of polymer to textiles. Critical factors include the compatibility of the polymer treatments with the textile and the openness of the textile structure, which will determine the surface area available for adhesion. Selecting different application methods can control the degree of penetration of the textile by the treatment polymer.

Polymer treatments can be applied in many different forms: as melt (or prevulcanisate), plastisol, powder, granule, foam, film, web, solution, dispersion, emulsion and as small molecules for in situ polymerisation.

Many different fibre types, both synthetic and natural, have been used. High performance fibres such as the aramids, inorganics, liquid crystal and high-density polyethylenes are now commonly used. Recyclability and green issues are driving the increased use of natural fibres, particularly in the automotive industry, also the use of similar fibre and matrix materials, e.g., polypropylene, so that the structure is simpler to recycle.

This review is accompanied by around 400 abstracts compiled from the Polymer Library, to facilitate further reading on this subject. A subject index and a company index are included.

Key features…

  • textile structures
  • types of polymers used
  • treatment methods
  • applications
  • potential developments

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  • iSmithers Rapra Publishing; January 2003
    142 pages; ISBN 9781847351791
    Read online, or download in secure PDF format
    Title: Polymer Enhancement of Technical Textiles
    Author: Roy W. Buckley