Application of Microfiber: Clothing, Filter Fabrics, Cleaning, Medical

Last Updated on 27/05/2021

Application of Microfiber

Harshani Wijendra
Sri Lanka Institute of Textile & Apparel Technology (SLITA)


Microfibers are thinner than any other natural or manufactured fiber. Microfibers, characterized by the fiber diameter and also referred to as microdeniers, are finer than silk and are defined as fibers that range in size from 0.1 to 1.0 dtex. Microfibers smaller than 0.1 are regarded as ultra microfibers (UMFs). Relative size of microfibers compared with other fibers (approximation of fiber diameter) are shown in below figure.

Relative size of microfibers compared with other fibers
Fig: Relative size of
microfibers compared with
other fibers

I have also published several articles on microfiber. You can read these articles which are given at bottom of the post.

Application of Microfiber:
Microfiber is a fairly new technology, with many application in many industries. Cleaning with microfiber products is fast, easy and environmentally friendly. With microfiber products you can eliminate or drastically reduce the need to use chemicals. Microfiber cleaning fabrics are sometimes described as having a magnetic attraction to dirt and dust. Microfiber products are extremely soft and do not scratch, but at the same time they are effective for all cleaning application.

Fabric constructions of microfibers enable a great variety of applications. Fabric finishing, therefore, is of great importance and makes considerable demands on the ingenuity of the finisher. Application areas of microfiber include functional garments (rain clothes, sportswear, mountain wear), and aesthetics and fashion (ladies’ and men’s outer wear, blouses and shirts). Microfibers did not only make their debut in sportswear for their wicking abilities but also became a great candidate for rainwear. When microfibers are tightly woven, they prevent water droplets from penetrating the fabric weave.

microfiber cloth used as sportswear
Fig: Microfiber cloth used as sportswear

Fashion clothing textiles
Woven fabric was produced from even a 0.1 dtex UFF hollow microfiber combined with a single hollow staple fiber. This product offers softness, bulk, dry handle, a sense of warmth, good recovery, and is lightweight.

High-performance filter fabrics
Owing to their fine, compact structure, microfiber textiles offer excellent filtration effects for both air and fluid filtration. Independently on common microfibers, also ultra-fine microfiber products, such as0.05 dtex PP microfiber nonwovens, in combination with a high electrical voltage, which will provide permanent polarization to the nonwoven, attract and absorb charged dust particles. Microfiber textiles can produce excellent filtration effects in the process of filtering solid or liquid materials. The characteristics of microfiber liquid filters are as follows:

  1. High water passage speed,
  2. High extraction performance (retention of particles up to micrometers dimensions), and
  3. Ease of cleaning micro-particles from the filter.

The micrometer-sized fiber segments add mechanical filtration properties to the filter medium. Also, two different dissimilar polymers can be selected that will generate turboelectric properties under flow conditions. The two polymers may also be electrostatically chargeable to enhance first-step filtration properties. These filtration mechanisms, when combined properly, may be able to create a higher efficiency, lower pressures drop-filter materials that will last longer before plugging in both air and liquid applications.

Protection against the weather
Woven sportswear fabrics are also used for protection against wind and weather, and also for insulation purposes. Woven fabrics for protection against the weather were previously coated with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in most cases. The PVC coating guarantees absolute waterproofness, but has a serious disadvantage. It allows no passage of air; the wearer perspires after only a few minutes, and has no opportunity of expelling his body moisture to the outside of the garment. This coating is equivalent to an airproof package, and is used nowadays only for heavy duty rainproof clothing (the so-called oil-cloth). Today, there is a wealth of alternative coatings and methods to replace PVC, such as microporous fluorocarbon coatings, which guarantee some breathing activity on the part of the fabric. Thanks to ever finer yarns, fabrics can now be produced to meet practically all functional sportswear requirements without additional coating or membranes. They are wind- and water-repellent, yet can breathe.

Microfibers for cleaning
Microfiber products are suitable for cleaning anything. Unlike ordinary cleaning fabrics that move or push dirt and dust from one place to another, microfibers actually ‘scrape’ the dirt or stain from the surface, and then store the dirt particles in the fabric until it is washed. Microfiber cleaning clothes trap dirt and dust inside the cloth, and do not spread dust or dirt around. The user can clean the cloths with water alone; no chemicals are needed. The scheme of cleaning dirt by common fibers and microfibers are shown in below.

Works of microfiber
Fig: Works of microfiber
microfiber cloth used as cleaning textile
Fig: Microfiber cloth used as cleaning textile

Energy conservation
Experiments have shown the drastic savings in the energy consumption in heat exchanges which are brought about by using metal-coated microfibers. In this case, the microfiber shows its heat conveying properties. By using the metal-coated microfibers inside the tubes of heat exchangers, heat transfer enhancement can be achieved. The findings of the above experiments are as follows:

  1. Heat transfer increases with the number of metal-coated microfibers.
  2. Pressure drops increase with the number of microfibers.

Medical applications
When it comes to the medical market, microfiber nonwovens are exactly what the doctor ordered. Both manufacturers and consumers are already aware of the many benefits microfiber nonwovens offer to the medical market. When compared the commonly textiles to microfiber nonwovens, they are lower in cost, easier to use, more versatile, safer, and features of better disposability. With this in mind, it is no wonder that microfiber nonwovens are found in hospital surgical drapes and gowns, protective face masks, gloves, surgical packs, and bedding & linens. On the other hand, nanofibers help stimulate living tissues to repair themselves in various parts of the human body, such as cartilage, blood vessels, bones and so forth, due to diseases or wear and tear. Nanofibers are about 10,000 times smaller in diameter than the width of a human hair, but of greater dimensions than a typical cell, which is of the order of one micrometer depending of the type of cell. Nanofibers have a large surface area in comparison to their size. Smaller than usual fibers, they allow cells to adhere to them better, speeding up the healing process.

Microfiber is widely used in case of;

  1. Apparel
  2. Clothing
  3. Accessories
  4. Textiles for cleaning
  5. Rags
  6. Insulation
  7. Basketballs
  8. Environmental issues

You may also like:

  1. Microfiber: Manufacturing, Benefits, End Uses, Appearances & Development
  2. Manufacturing Process of Microfibres: Methods, Materials and Treatments
  3. Nylon: The First Synthetic Fiber

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