Know What You Wear

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Application of Nonwovens in Apparel Industry

Nonwovens Fabrics:
Nonwoven fabrics are one of the oldest and simplest textile fabrics. It is a sheet of fibers, continuous filaments or chopped yarns of any nature or origin, that have been formed into a web by any means, and bonded together by any means, with the exception of weaving or knitting. Nonwoven fabrics are engineered fabrics that may be a limited life, single-use fabric or a very durable fabric. Nonwoven fabrics provide specific functions such as absorbency, liquid repellency, resilience, stretch, softness, strength, flame retardancy, washability, cushioning, filtering, bacterial barrier and sterility. Nonwovens are used extensively in the apparel industry for interlinings, clothing and glove insulation, braand shoulder padding, handbag components and shoe components.

Application of Nonwovens in Apparel Industry:

Protective clothing manufacturing, mainly against fire and chemicals, is the major driver of the apparel manufacturing market for nonwoven fabrics. Nonwoven fabrics are further utilized for manufacturing of masks, surgical gowns and also as protective clothing against chemicals, pesticides, manufacturing electronics, and in all laboratories.

Nonwoven provides a numerous advantages contrast to woven fabrics, particularly with respect to cost benefits, owing to its direct fiber to fabric formation process, high volume of production and less manpower requirement. This difference in cost is sufficient for them to completely replace woven fabrics for fashion apparel applications, if they were not suffered by the distinct disadvantages in terms of their mechanical properties, poor drape or flexibility. Design and production of a nonwoven fabric to mimic a woven cloth for apparel uses have to meet the following requirements such as
  • Physical requirements
  • Thermo-physiological requirements
  • Biomechanical requirements
  • Psychological requirements
In the nonwoven, the combined contribution of neighbouring fibers depends totally on the extensibility of fiber and bond and is accordingly very restricted. The mechanism of nonwoven fabric fitting is represented by the fiber rotation, fiber straightening, bond rotation, bond expansion and fiber extension. The nonwoven can’t simply accommodate in-plane compression without buckling as it does not have the easy shear path. The incapability of nonwovens to distribute the stress at a tear, leads to premature breakdown in outer wear. To put it plainly, the nonwoven structure is not in a superior position to withstand tears, stitch gatherings and transfer of stresses in a fabricated garment in day to day service. 

The solutions recommended to improve the performance of nonwoven for apparel applications are given below:
  • The presentation of highly elastic and tough fibers and similarly elastic and strong bonds needs to make nonwovens more sturdy and strong.
  • Darting of the strands between the two surfaces of the fabric and presenting bonding just at the midplane. This could improve the strength and flexibility of nonwoven.
  • Extra fiber length between bonding points must allow higher deformability and consequently decreased the fabric stiffness.
  • The chance of attaining greater degrees of filament freedom of motion would be improved with increasing space between the bonding points.
  • Better fabric drapeability could be achieved by the use of binders with enhanced mechanical properties.
  • The durable and washable nonwovens by need must be hydroentangled. Hydro-entangling produces fabrics that are flexible, soft and conformable, alike traditional woven fabrics.
Few of the nonwoven fabrics developed with various kinds of fibers are mentioned below:
  • Cotton-polyester blended nonwoven fabric
  • Polyester nonwoven fabric
  • Silk nonwoven fabric
  • Wool nonwoven fabric
  • Polyester durable nonwoven fabric
A 100% polyester nonwoven fabric can be manufactured from nonwoven web subjected to hydro-entanglement process. The nonwoven web is then gone through an image processing element which imparts a final design to the web. The web is passed through a three water jet nozzle sections at a speed of around 35 ypm (yards per minute) and at 150 bar entangling pressure. After hydro-entangling or spun lacing process, the binder which contains elastomeric mixture is applied while the web is passed through an application station. The web is then passed through a sequence of drying organized one over the other which are worked at around 310°C. Before utilization of nonwoven fabric for garment manufacturing process, the fabric should be pre-treated with a softening agent followed by jet dyeing and mechanical compaction to a level of 7%. Mechanical finishing treatments like sanforizing, sueding, napping, etc., can be carried out prior to or subsequent to printing and dyeing.
Apparel from nonwoven fabric
Fig: Apparel from nonwoven fabric
Freudenberg Nonwovens, German based top nonwoven manufacturer has introduced Evolon®, a spunlace bi-component nonwoven fabric made from polyamide and polyester nonwoven fabric to be used as an apparel outer fabric. It provides thermal insulation, washability, ultraviolet protection, breathability, wind resistance and quick-drying. Precision Custom Coatings LLC, one of the leading manufacturers of nonwoven and coated fabrics for apparel and industrial applications, has recently launched the Comfort Stretch Thermal Bond Nonwoven fabric, which offers good stretch, elastic recovery as well as comfort for the wearer.

References:
  1. Nonwovens - Process, Structure, Properties and Applications by T. Karthik, R. Rathinamoorthy & C. Praba Karan
  2. Satyajeet Chaudhari, Aadhar Mandot, Patel Milin & Matharu Karansingh: A Review On Nonwoven Fabrics Used In Apparel
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonwoven_fabric