Different Raw Materials Used in Technical Textiles

Raw Materials for Technical Textiles

Snigdha Saha
B.Sc. in Textile Engineering
BGMEA University of Fashion and Technology


Textiles are divided into clothing, household fabrics, and technical textiles. Clothing and household fabrics (curtains, textile wallpaper, upholstery fabrics, carpet, and floor coverings) seem to be easily defined. It could therefore be concluded that all other textile products constitute the group of technical textiles. Technical textiles have been developed for their functional properties rather than their aesthetic or decorative properties. They are used within a variety of industries, including aerospace, agriculture, construction, marine, medical, military, safety and transport. These textiles make up approximately 40% of all textile fibers, and it is the fastest growing area in the world of textiles and clothing. Technical textile is also called performance textile.

According to the textile institute, technical textiles are indicated to those textile materials and products which are manufactured primarily for their technical and performance properties rather than their aesthetics and decorative characteristics. In simple words, textile- based products which are known for their performance and function rather than wearability or looks are called technical textiles. In modern world, most of the objects we use in our daily life is textile based, and of them almost half is used for technical purposes rather than as garment. Starting from table cloth, welcome mat, seat covers, bed sheets to space shuttle’s wall, technical textile is used everywhere. The raw materials of these products vary in basic three forms such as fiber, yarn, and fabric. To make them different from conventional, many technical and structural changes are made to then during manufacturing and finishing. With the development in textile industry, many fibers, yarn and fabrics were even invented only to serve the technical purpose rather than any other.

Objectives of This Paper:

  1. To know about functions of technical textiles;
  2. To know different categories or classification of technical textiles;
  3. To know about the raw materials (fiber, fabric, yarn) of technical Textiles;
  4. To know about their (fiber, fabric, yarn) special characteristics;
  5. To know about their advantages and disadvantages;
  6. To know about the application areas;
  7. To know about the end products.

Functions of Technical Textiles:
Different functions can be achieved through technical textiles. These can be categorized into four groups.

  1. Mechanical functions: It includes mechanical resistance, reinforcement of the materials, tenacity, elasticity, etc.
  2. Exchange functions: It includes filtration, insulation and conductivity, drainage, permeability, absorption, etc.
  3. Functionalities for living beings: It includes antimicrobial, anti-dust mites, biocompatibility, biodegradability, etc.
  4. Protective functions: It includes protection from fire, chemicals, infrared and ultraviolet rays, electromagnetic fields, environment, etc.

Branches / Classification of Technical Textiles:

1. Aerospace and Automotive – These are the largest market for technical textiles. Products include upholstery, reinforcements for tyres, fan belts, hoses, filters and body panels. The use of technical textiles in aerospace technology has led to the development of these fabrics in other industries e.g. cardiovascular disease prevention, monitoring tiredness and alcohol levels of drivers by monitoring eye movement and brain functions, clothing with detection devices in ski suits, children’s clothing; the list is endless.

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2. Agriculture – Uses for this industry include animal husbandry, horticulture, landscaping and forestry.

3. Clothing – There is a huge range of options in garments and footwear. Outdoor clothing, sports textiles and fashion products use these textiles. Sportswear, especially, has made a huge contribution to the development of performance fabrics.

4. Construction – Uses for this industry include membranes for methane barriers, roofing for climate control, Tefloncoated glass fibres, home insulation, paint rollers, tarpaulins, marquees and temporary accommodations for the military.

5. Geotextiles – These include permeable membranes used with other construction work e.g. motorways, filtration systems in landfill sites and dams, erosion control of river and coastal defence and linings for ponds and tunnels.

6. Industrial – Industrial uses include filtration and cleaning fabrics, hoses, liquid crystal displays, photocopier components, ropes, bungee cords and conveyor belts.

7. Medicine – Uses for this industry include woven and non-woven fabrics, disposable and high-absorption products that use trilobal viscose e.g. sanitary wear, nappies and wound dressings. These textiles can also be used to make artificial ligaments, stents, patches for holes in hearts, uniforms and bedding.

8. Military – These include tents, uniforms and equipment.

9. Protection – To enhance protection, these textiles can be transformed into intelligent garments for specific occupations. Clothing may have tear resistance, UV resistance, ballistic protection, high visibility and fire retardant. Environmental protection in waste disposal, recycling and reduction in waste of landfill sites. Protection of natural products for future generations.

10. Sports Textile: Sports and leisure time, functional sportswear, apparatus, textile membranes for surfing sails and boards, sailing, and hang gliding.

11. Packaging Textile: Textiles used in packaging.

12. Hometech: Textiles used in furniture, household textiles, upholstery, interior decorating, carpets, floor covering.

Different Raw Materials are Used in Technical Textiles

Raw Material: Fiber
This industry is rich with many natural and synthetic fibers. All these fibers are useful in different ways. Synthetic fibers are made from doing some special chemical processes on natural fibers or obtained directly from chemicals. These fibers have greater qualities than simple man made fibers so it is widely used in the industry not only for the apparel use but is used in other various applications also. Some synthetic fibers are Acetate, Rayon, Nylon, Polyester, Acrylic, Olefin, PLA and Modacrylic and some fibers with special properties are Saran, Vinalon, Vinyon, Spandex, Modal, Sulphur, Twaron, Kevlar, Nomex, PBI, Loycell, M5, Zylon, Dyneema/Spectra, Vectran, Glass fiber, Metalic fiber and Acrolynite. In this segment we are covering the major ten fibers used in the technical textile industry. The properties, applications are also covered.

These fibers are listed below:

  1. Glass fiber
  2. Viscose fiber
  3. Acrylic fiber
  4. Protein fiber
  5. Metal fiber
  6. Polyethylene
  7. Polyester
  8. Nylon
  9. Carbon
  10. Polypropylene

Above all raw materials of technical textiles are described below:

Glass fiber
Glass fiber is obtained from the fine fibers of the glass. It is also called fiberglass. Fiber glass is formed from fine silica strands. Glass itself is a crystalline solid. Basically glass fiber is a polymer. The common properties of glass fiber are as follows.


  • High strength
  • Non flammable
  • Relatively insensitive to moisture
  • Good electrical insulation
  • High production rates
  • Relatively low density
  • Good chemical resistance
  • Relatively low fatigue resistance
  • Good strength properties in various conditions
  • Relatively low density
  • Low modulus
  • Good electrical resistance
  • Low cost

Advantages of glass fiber:

  1. Low weight: Fiberline’s GRP profiles are low in weight. This makes them easier to work with and means that great weight savings can be achieved on the finished structure.
  2. Great strength: Fiberline composites give you the same great strength as steel, but at only a quarter of the density. It is also possible to make weight savings in comparison with aluminum, as the density is 30 % lower.
  3. Corrosion-free: Our fiberglass profiles are resistant to aggressive chemicals, and liquids. This makes them ideal for wastewater treatment plants, swimming pools, cooling towers and construction, where there is a risk of corrosion.
  4. Chemical resistance: Our fiberglass profiles are resistant to aggressive chemicals, liquids and alkalis. This makes them ideal for wastewater treatment plants, swimming pools, cooling towers and construction, where there is a risk of corrosion.
  5. Minimal maintenance: Our GRP profiles have unrivalled durability and a long life, even in demanding conditions.

Disadvantages of glass fiber:

  1. After the glass fiber is reinforced, since the glass fiber is added, the glass fiber is transparent before it becomes opaque.
  2. After the glass fiber is reinforced, the toughness of all plastics decreases, and the brittleness increases;
  3. After the glass fiber is reinforced, due to the addition of glass fiber, the melt viscosity of all materials increases, the flow ability deteriorates, and the injection pressure increases much more than that without glass fiber;
  4. After the glass fiber is reinforced, due to the addition of glass fiber, the flow ability is poor. In order to normal injection molding, the injection temperature of all reinforced plastics is 10°C-30°C higher than before without glass fiber;
  5. After the glass fiber is reinforced, due to the addition of glass fiber and additives, the hygroscopic performance of the reinforced plastic is greatly strengthened, and the original plastic does not absorb water and it will become water-absorbing. Therefore, it must be dried during injection molding.

Application of Glass fiber:

  • Reinforcement material in polymer matrix composites
  • Laminate structures can be used in storage tanks
  • Woven fabrics are used in production of surfboards, composite panels and other similar devices
  • Useful for good thermal insulation.

Viscose fiber
Viscose rayon is a cellulosic fiber, which is manufactured by regeneration. It is neither a synthetic fiber nor a natural fiber fully because it is obtained from naturally occurring polymers.


  • Viscose has silk like feel and drape
  • It retains its colors
  • It has cellulosic base so it has many properties like cotton and natural cellulosic fiber
  • Moisture absorbent
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Breathable
  • Easily dyed in vivid colors
  • It does not build up static electricity
  • Moderate dry strength and abrasion resistance

Advantages of viscose fiber:

  1. Inexpensive
  2. Known for its silk-like feel
  3. Drapes beautifully
  4. Breathable, similar to cotton in this regard
  5. Ideal for those seeking a luxurious look and feel at a more economical price point
  6. Blends well with other fibers, particularly woven ones
  7. Dyes easily and produces beautiful, vivid colors

Disadvantages of viscose fiber:

  1. Fabric is weak, and even weaker when wet
  2. Not recommended for use in home furnishings (due to stretch factor listed above)
  3. Absorbs moisture, body oils, and water, which may result in spots
  4. Spot treating can lead to permanent marking
  5. Almost always needs to be dry cleaned

You may also like: Viscose Rayon: A Regenerated Cellulosic Fiber

Application of Viscose fiber:

  • Industry uses like tire cord
  • Medical surgery products.
  • Industrials use
  • Life savings gears

Acrylic fiber
Acrylic fiber is a synthetic fiber, which is made from polymer. Methyl acrylate and vinyl acetate are co-monomers of acrylic fiber. This polymer is obtained by free radical polymerization. Acrylic fiber has wool like feeling and it is light weight, warm and soft.


  • Resistant to moths, chemicals and oils
  • Resistant to deterioration from sunlight exposure
  • It dyes well
  • Has excellent colorfastness
  • It retains its shape
  • Resists wrinkles and shrinkage
  • Quick dry and easy care
  • Very good heat retention
  • Durability and quick dry qualities
  • Quick water transport and weather resistant


  1. Lightweight, soft, warm, wool-like hand
  2. Dyes to bright colors
  3. Machine washable, quick drying
  4. Resilient, retains shape, resists shrinkage and wrinkles
  5. Wool-like, cotton-like, or blended appearance
  6. Excellent pleat retention
  7. Resists moths, oil, chemicals


  1. Low absorbency
  2. Develops static
  3. Pilling
  4. Heat sensitive
  5. Weak
  6. Dissolved by nail polish remover (acetone)

Application of Acrylic fiber:

  • In sportswear
  • In industry and apparel
  • Hygienic, barrier cloth and bactericidal
  • Domestic textiles
  • Cement reinforcement
  • Producer dyed fabrics

Polyethylene is a polymer. Many no. of ethylene monomers join with each in the synthesis of polyethylene polymer. Polyethylene is obtained by the polymerization of ethane. Cationic coordination polymerization, anionic addition polymerization, radical polymerization and ion polymerization are the different methods by which polyethylene can be produced. Every method gives different types of polyethylene. Mechanical properties of Polyethylene depend on the molecular weight, crystal grouping and branching. Some properties are as follows:


  • Very good ultra violet resistance
  • Excellent electrical and chemical resistance
  • Low moisture absorption level
  • Very good abrasion resistance
  • Low specific gravity
  • Higher energy is needed to break because of specific modulus and high specific strength

Advantages of polyethylene:

  1. It has lower production and packaging costs.
  2. It is soft and non-brittle. Hence it offers greater bending without much cracks. Moreover, it can be cut with an ordinary razer.
  3. It does not have any emissions. Moreover, it is immune to noise. Hence it can be run alongside of power cables.
  4. It is more rugged and more flexible. Hence it is easier to install them.
  5. It is light in weight.
  6. It can withstand stress.

Disadvantages of polyethylene:

  1. Signal attenuation and dispersion are very high. Hence they are not useful for long distance communication systems.
  2. Refractive index of core and cladding part varies rapidly at higher temperature. Hence NA and mode pattern of the plastic fiber deviates.
  3. It offers low quality compare to glass optical fiber.
  4. It is flammable and hence need to be used in selected applications after proper analysis.

Application of polyethylene:

  • Medical implants
  • Cable and marine ropes
  • Sail cloth
  • Composites like Pressure vessel boat hulls, sports equipment, impact shields
  • Fish netting
  • Concrete reinforcement
  • Protective clothing
  • Can be used in radar protective cover because of its low dielectric constant
  • Can be used as a lining material
  • Useful in geotextile applications

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Polyester is a polymer with ester functional group as a main chain. This is also known by other name Terylene. It is available in many forms but commonly it is used as PET (polyethylene terephthalate). Other forms which are known are polycarbonate and plant cuticles or cutin. Polyesters are easily flammables on high temperatures. Due to its wrinkle resistance capacity it is widely spun together with other natural fibers. Liquid crystalline polymers have high heat resistance capacity so it is used in jet engines as an abradable seal. It’s one wide spread application in the medical field is for making of heart valves. Some properties of Polyester are given below:


  • Wrinkle resistance
  • Heat resistance
  • Good mechanical properties
  • Polymerization and cross linking is possible
  • Thixotropic properties
  • Azeotrope esterification is possible
  • Alcoholic transesterification is possible
  • Thermoplastic qualities
  • Combustible at high temperatures
  • Thermosetting property
  • Cross linking and polymerization is possible through exothermic reactions

Advantages of polyester:

  1. The elasticity is close to that of wool, and when it is stretched by 5% to 6%, it can be almost completely recovered. The wrinkle resistance is superior to other fibers, that is, the fabric is not wrinkled, and the dimensional stability is good. The modulus of elasticity is 22 to 141 cN/dtex, which is 2 to 3 times higher than that of nylon.
  2. Synthetic fiber fabric has good heat resistance and thermoplasticity
  3. Good light resistance, light resistance is second only to acrylic
  4. Good chemical resistance
  5. Acid and alkali are not much damaged, and they are not afraid of mold and insects.
  6. High strength and elastic recovery
  7. It is durable, wrinkle-free and non-iron.
  8. Good water absorption


  1. Poor dyeability: There is no specific staining gene, dyeing is difficult, and the dyeability is poor, but the color fastness after dyeing is very good and it is not easy to fade.
  2. Poor resistance to melting: The anti-melting property is poor. If it is exposed to holes such as Mars and soot, it is easy to form holes. Avoid wearing cigarettes and sparks when wearing. The hot base can decompose it.
  3. One of the synthetic fiber products, after a period of use, will pilling.
  4. Poor hygroscopicity: Polyester fabric, poor hygroscopicity, wearing a stuffy feeling, easy to bring static electricity, contaminated with dust, but it is easy to dry after cleaning, the wet strength is almost no drop, no deformation, wearability is very good.

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Application of Polyester:

  • Medical Implants
  • In jet engines as abradable seal
  • Spun together with natural fibers to give strength
  • Useful in making of films and bottle
  • Also useful in holograms, liquid crystal displays, filters and tarpaulin
  • Useful in insulating tapes, film insulation for wire and dielectric film for capacitors
  • In auto-body fillers, casting materials and fiberglass laminating resins (because of thermosetting property)
  • Useful in finishing of high quality wooden products

Nylon fiber
A manufactured fiber in which the fiber forming substance is a long-chain synthetic polyamide in which less than 85% of the amide-linkages are attached directly (-CO- NH-) to two aliphatic groups. This is the definition of Nylon fiber by Federal Trade Commissions. The properties of Nylon fiber are as follows:


  • Dries quickly
  • Easy to launder
  • Strong and elastic
  • Responsive to heat setting and resilient
  • Retains its shape
  • Polyamide 6 nylon6 PA-6 has thermoplastic property
  • Lower mould shrinkage
  • Good fatigue resistance


  1. Lightweight
  2. Exceptional strength
  3. Abrasion resistant
  4. Easy to wash
  5. Resists shrinkage and wrinkles
  6. Resilient, pleat retentive
  7. Fast drying, low moisture absorbency
  8. Can be pre-colored or dyed in a wide range of colors
  9. Resists damage from oil and many chemicals
  10. Insulating properties


  1. Static and pilling
  2. Poor resistance to sunlight
  3. Low absorbency
  4. Picks up oils and dyes in wash
  5. Heat sensitive

Application of Nylon Fiber:

  • Used in hosiery
  • Useful in making of swimwear, windbreakers, draperies, bedspreads, shorts track pants and active wear
  • Also use in parachutes
  • Useful in making of combat uniforms, flak vests, tires and life vests
  • Nylon 6/6 is used in rollers, gears, nut and bolts, cams, bearings, electrical connectors, coil formers, kitchen utensils, combs, fuel tanks of cars and power tool housings
  • Nylon 6/10 is useful in electrical components like bobbins, coil formers, tubing and wire jacketing.

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Carbon fiber
Carbon fiber is a well-known textile material. In this graphite crystalline structures are arranged in a manner that it gives fibrous material. Carbon fiber is also available by oil/coal pitch after giving them certain heat treatment. It is broadly divided into the categories like, PAN-based carbon fiber, Pitch based carbon fiber, Mesophase pitch based carbon fiber, isotropic pitch based carbon fiber, Rayon-based carbon fibers and gas-phase- based carbon fibers. The properties of carbon fiber are as follows:


  • Physical strength
  • Specific toughness
  • Light weight
  • High dimensional stability
  • Low coefficient of thermal expansion
  • Low abrasion
  • Good vibration strength, damping and toughness
  • Biological inertness and x-ray permeability
  • Chemical inertness
  • High corrosion resistance
  • Fatigue resistance, self-lubrication, high damping
  • Electrical conductivity
  • Electromagnetic properties


  1. Lightweight – carbon fiber is a low density material with a very high strength to weight ratio
  2. High tensile strength – one of the strongest of all commercial reinforcing fibers when it comes to tension, carbon fiber is very difficult to stretch or bend
  3. Low thermal expansion – carbon fiber will expand or contract much less in hot or cold conditions than materials like steel and aluminum
  4. Exceptional durability – carbon fiber has superior fatigue properties compared to metal, meaning components made of carbon fiber won’t wear out as quickly under the stress of constant use
  5. Corrosion-resistance – when made with the appropriate resins, carbon fiber is one of the most corrosion-resistant materials available
  6. Radiolucence – carbon fiber is transparent to radiation and invisible in x-rays, making it valuable for usage in medical equipment and facilities
  7. Electrical conductivity – carbon fiber composites are an excellent conductor of electricity.
  8. Ultra-violet resistant – carbon fiber can be UV resistant with use of the proper resins.


  1. Carbon fiber will break or shatter when it’s compressed, pushed beyond its strength capabilities or exposed to high impact. It will crack if hit by a hammer. Machining and holes can also create weak areas that may increase its likelihood of breaking.
  2. Relative cost – carbon fiber is a high quality material with a price to match. While prices have dropped significantly in the past five years, demand has not increased enough to increase the supply substantially. As a result, prices will likely remain the same for the near future.

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Application of Carbon fiber:

  • Sporting goods, aerospace, marine and road transport;
  • Pickup arms, audio equipment, robot arms, Hi-fi equipment and loudspeakers;
  • Medical applications in x-ray and surgery equipment, ligament and tendon repair and in implants;
  • Nuclear field, chemical industry, pumps, seals, valves and its components in process plants;
  • Textile machinery, genera engineering;
  • Radiological equipment;
  • Large generator retaining rings;
  • Novel tooling, brushes, automobile hoods casings and bases for electronic equipments
  • EMI and RF shielding;
  • Missiles, aircraft brakes, aerospace antenna and support structure;
  • Large telescopes, waveguides for stable high-frequency (GHz) precision measurement frames and optical benches.

Polypropylene is a polymer made from addition of many propylene monomers. It has good resistant capacity to many acids, bases and chemical solvents. Its melting point is 160 °C (320 °F) so it is used in plastic materials for medical laboratories as an autoclave. Thin sheets of polypropylene are also used in dielectrics. Some properties of Polypropylene are given below:


  • Thermoplastic property
  • Good strength
  • Good environmental resistance
  • Low density, hence light weight
  • Good toughness
  • Ability to be remolded


  • The polypropylene fiber poses very good resistance against the most of the acids and alkali.
  • It doesn’t absorb the moisture. The properties of the polypropylene fiber remain unchanged in wet and dry conditions due to zero moisture absorbency.
  • The low moisture regain helps in quick transport of moisture required in special applications like babies ever-dry nappies.
  • The polypropylene is a light fiber; its density (0.91 grams/cubic centimeter) is the lowest of all synthetic fibers.
  • The polypropylene fiber poses lower thermal conductivity than other fibers. This nature of polypropylene allows users to use it for applications as thermal wear.

The main demerits of polypropylene fibers are given below:

  1. The polypropylene fiber poses poor ultra-violet and thermal stability.
  2. The polypropylene fiber has low melting point. This demerit doesn’t allow ironing of polypropylene fabrics.
  3. It is very difficult to be dyed after manufacturing. Proper dyeing of it is possible after substantial treatment and modification.
  4. It has High crystallinity and poor thermal conductivity. This demerit of polypropylene doesn’t allow proper texturizing of it.
  5. It shows poor adhesion to glues and latex.
  6. It begins to Creep due to its low glass transition temperature (15 °C to -20°C).
  7. It is flammable which melts and burns like wax.
  8. It has poor resilience in comparison to polyester and Nylon.

Application of Polypropylene:

  • Textile industry
  • Good impact properties even at low temperatures and slightly increased elongation at break
  • Extruded pipes, automotive like battery cases and bumpers, blow molded containers
  • Boat bodies, blow molded medical articles and seat shells.
  • Automotive Industry (load floors, valve covers, under engine covers, seat frames, front ends, battery trays, bumper beams, load floors and rocker panels)
  • Aerospace Industry (overhead storage compartments and fuselage wall linings, fasteners, helicopter fairings, missile and aircraft stabilizer fins, engine housings, ducting, panels and wing ribs)
  • Construction Industry (Thermoplastic composites for lightweight structural, pipes insulating panels, structural profiles and concrete rebar)
  • Materials Handling (cargo containers and pallets)

Application area and product images

technical textile products

Raw Material: Yarn
Technical yarns are produced for manufacturing of technical textiles. Staple, monofilament, multifilament, twisted, textured etc. spun by different yarn manufacturing method like ring, rotor, air-jet, friction spinning etc. (for staple yarns), giving varieties of structures can be utilized as required. They have to meet the specific functional requirements of the intended end-use. This may be achieved through special yarn production techniques or through the selection of special fiber blends or a combination of both.

We can classify technical yarns on the basis of raw materials; whether they are natural or manmade, or from staple or filament fibers. On this basis, it is divided into two major types. They are-

  1. Natural staple fiber yarn
  2. Synthetic filament yarn

On the basis of construction, technical yarns are of many types. Some of them are-

  1. Conventional yarn: These are two or more simple single yarns plied or twisted together.
  2. Novelty yarns: These are single or plied yarn structures characterized by internationally introduced irregularities in size and twist effects. The irregularities of novelty yarns may be uniform or random.
  3. Metallic yarns: It is a monofilament flat yarn produced by lacquering aluminum pigment or by laminating aluminum foil between layers of plastic. After this, webs are cut into wide coils and the rolls are slit into fine ribbon-like yarn.
  4. Textured yarns: Textured yarns are the end result of physical, chemical or thermal manipulation of fibers and yarns so that they are no longer straight or uniform.
  5. Bulked/lofted yarns: High bulk yarns are created and processed by nonlinearity or loop formation in individual filaments. The process introduces crimps, loops, curls and crinkles into the yarn.
  6. Stretch yarns: Almost all man-made and natural fibers can be treated to produce yarns with some degree of stretch and recovery. Stretch properties may be applied to yarns by chemical or mechanical methods.

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A. Natural staple fiber yarns:
These are the yarns which are made from natural staple fibers like cotton, flax etc. Special properties can be given to the yarns by different manufacturing techniques like heat setting, coating, and application of different finishes. Some of the most commonly used yarns are-

Jute yarn
jute is natural multifilament fiber, strong, durable and easy to both produce and dispose. Biodegradable jute yarns are suitable for various weave densities. Although it is a filament fiber yarn, its natural source keeps it in this category. It is widely used in geotech, agrotech, buildtech, packtech etc.


  • It has good density with/without adhesive
  • It has good flexural strength and modulus
  • It has very good tensile strength with adhesive
  • It has more water absorbency than any synthetic fibers


  1. It has great antistatic properties
  2. It has low thermal conductivity
  3. It has great MR%
  4. It is 100% biodegradable, so very much environment friendly


  1. Its crease resistance is very low
  2. Drapability is not good
  3. If it is wet, then strength decreases
  4. Does not look aesthetic or smooth, so not good as hometex or decorative purposes

Application area and product images:

jute geotextile products

Flax yarn
Flax fiber is extracted from the bast or skin of the stem of the flax plant. Flax fiber is soft, lustrous and flexible; bundles of fiber have the appearance of blonde hair. The longer fibers are used for spinning into yarn and hometech, protech, sporttech etc. It is used extensively by artisan bakers. Known as a Couche, the flax cloth is used to hold the dough into shape while in the final rise, just before baking. It is also used as supports for oil painting.


  • Comfortable to use
  • It is stronger than cotton with adequate comfortability
  • Can be hand washed or dry-washed
  • In can be well tailored easily
  • No static and pilling problems
  • Good abrasion resistance


  1. It has high luster
  2. Excellent aesthetic looks and properties
  3. Good durability
  4. Easy cleaning, both hand/dry washable
  5. Disadvantages:
  6. Handling is stiff
  7. Low elongation
  8. Poor resiliency
  9. Poor appearance retention

Application area and product images:

composite textile products

Coir yarn
Coir is a natural insulation material produced from flax fibers, twisted to produce yarn and woven matting, which can then be set in lofts or put into wall cavities. The fibers from the surface of coconuts are also used widely to produce coir yarns. Coir yarn and flax yarns can be combined in woven structure for various applications in oekotech, geotech, agrotech etc. These are mainly used for binding purpose and also to produce matting.

They can dissolve the energy of flowing water and absorb the extra solar radiation. It gives low impact and reasonable result to the problems of soil erosion and land sliding on man- made slopes such as motorway and railway embankments.


  • Non-flammable
  • Biodegradable
  • Good MR%
  • High swelling, about 5% of its diameter
  • Economically cheap
  • Low decomposition rate
  • Good thermal properties


  1. Handles high water velocity
  2. UV resistant against synthetic yarns
  3. Good tensile strength
  4. Accepts hydro seeding
  5. Trap sediment ability

You may also like: Coconut / Coir Fiber: Properties, Manufacturing Process and Uses


  1. It tends to dry out faster
  2. Less durable, take less time to biodegrade
  3. Slightly acidic
  4. Have to maintain a required pH level

Application area and product images:

coir textile products

Cotton Yarn
Cotton is a naturally occurring fiber which is derived from the cotton plant and is widely used in the weaving of fabrics for clothing, fashion and furnishings. For technical applications it has certain useful characteristics which can be difficult to reproduce with man- made fibers, but having less strength and resistance, it is mostly to be found at work combined with other fiber types for best effect.


  • Comfortable
  • Good drape and feel
  • High absorbency
  • Temperature regulating
  • Breathable


  1. It is not wrinkle resistant.
  2. It is likely to stretch or shrink.
  3. Cotton takes a long time to dry
  4. Have less strength compared to other synthetic yarns.

Application area and product images:

medical textile products

B. Synthetic filament yarn:
A filament yarn is made from one or more continuous strands called filaments where each component filament runs the whole length of the yarn. Those yarns composed of one filament are called monofilament yarns, and those containing more filaments are known as multifilament yarns. There have been many types of filament yarns developed for technical applications, such as reinforcing and protecting. The reinforcing technical yarns have high modulus, high strength, or both. Yarns for protecting applications can be resistant to safety hazards such as heat and fire, chemical, and mechanical damage. Some of the most commonly used synthetic filament yarn is described below-

Polyester yarn
Polyester yarns are nowadays made from the post-consumer waste such as bottles, fabrics, etc. for various technical applications. In the composition of polyester ethylene terephthalate, it has superior strength and elasticity it is applicable to numbers of geotechnical applications. It is also used in other technical applications of textiles.


  • Very strong, lightweight and durable
  • Abrasion resistant
  • Low absorbency rate
  • Dries quickly
  • Wrinkle resistant


  1. High durability
  2. High luster
  3. Excellent abrasion resistance
  4. Highly resilient
  5. Resistant to pests, mildew etc.


  1. Low air permeability
  2. Low dye intake
  3. Not environmentally friendly

Application area and product images:

Synthetic filament yarn products

Polypropylene yarn
They include both polyethylene and polypropylene. Polypropylene is a famous alternative for geo-grids or geomatrices, as it is strong and chemically static. Polypropylene is accepted to carry out poor long-term creep behavior but is economical and light in weight.

Specifically, in the applications like sacks, bags, packaging, carpet backing, furniture linings, ropes, netting replacing conventionally used jute in these applications.

Both polymers have a density less than that of water, which allows them to float as ropes, nets and other similar applications. The availability, low cost and good resistance to acid and alkaline environments of polypropylene has greatly influenced its growth and substantial use in geotextile applications.


  • Low thermal conductivity
  • Low specific gravity
  • Recyclable
  • Hydrophobic in nature
  • Semi rigid and translucent


  1. Excellent resistance to acids and bases
  2. Water resistant
  3. Resistant to bacteria and micro organisms
  4. Good heat and fatigue resistance


  1. Low strength; require larger thread to meet strength needs
  2. Low crepe resistance
  3. Poor abrasion resistance

Application area and product images:

technical textiles products

Aramid filament yarns
Aramid fiber is a chemical fiber in which the fiber-forming substance is a long chain synthetic polyamide where at least 85% of the amide linkages are attached directly to two aromatic rings. Nomex and Kevlar are two well-known trade names of the aramid fiber, owned by DuPont. Because of its damage resisting properties, Kevlar 29 is widely used and accepted for making body armor. Kevlar 49, on the other hand, has high tenacity and is used as reinforcing material for many composites uses, including materials for making boat and aircraft parts. The Nomex aramid, on the other hand, is heat resistant and is used in making fire fighters’ apparel and similar applications


  • Very high tenacity and strength High resistance to stretch
  • Fire resistant
  • More flexible in comparison to glass fiber yarn


  1. High performance yarn, fatigue and damage resistant Very low flammability
  2. Good chemical resistance Very lightweight Disadvantages:
  3. Sensitive to salt (chlorine) Sensitive to some acids and bases UV degradation is possible

Application area and product images:

aramid textile

Carbon filament yarns
Carbon fibers are commonly made from precursor fibers such as rayon and acrylic. The carbonized filaments are heated to a temperature up to 3000°C, again in an inert atmosphere. This is called graphitization. Graphitization increases the orderly arrangement of the carbon atoms, which are organized into a crystalline structure of layers. These layers are well-oriented in the direction of fiber axis, which is an important factor in producing high modulus fibers. Like the glass yarns, most carbon fibers are brittle. Sizes are used to adhere the filaments together to improve the process ability. In addition to protecting operatives against skin irritation and short fiber inhalation, protecting the processing machinery and auxiliary electric and electronic devices needs to be considered too, as carbon fiber is conductive.


  • Very highly oriented fiber structure
  • Very light weight
  • Very high rigidity
  • Electrically conductive
  • Fire resistant


  1. High performance yarn
  2. Non flammable
  3. Low coefficient of thermal expansion
  4. Non-poisonous and biologically inert
  5. High fatigue resistant


  1. Relatively expensive
  2. High brittleness

Application area and product images:

carbon filament technical textile

Some other types of fibers are-

PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene)
This yarn offers a unique blend of chemical and temperature resistance, coupled with a low fraction coefficient. Since PTFE is virtually chemically inert, it can withstand exposure to extremely harsh temperature and chemical environments. The friction coefficient, claimed to be the lowest of all yarns, makes it suitable for applications such as heavy-duty bearings where low relative speeds are involved.

PBI (polybenzimidazole)
It is a manufactured in a way where the fiber-forming substance is a long chain aromatic polymer. It has excellent thermal resistance and a good hand, coupled with very high moisture regain. Because of these, the PBI is ideal for use in heat-resistant apparel for fire fighters, fuel handlers, welders, astronauts, and racing car drivers.

PBO (polyphenylene benzobisoxazole)
It is another new entrant in the high performance organic fibers market. Zylon, made by Toyobo, is the only PBO in production. PBO has outstanding thermal properties and almost twice the strength of conventional para-aramid fiber yarns. Its high modulus makes it an excellent material for composite reinforcement. Its low LOI gives PBO more than twice the flame-retardant properties of meta-aramid fiber yarns. It can also be used for ballistic vests and helmets.

Raw Material: Nonwoven Fabric
Nonwoven fabric is a fabric-like material made from staple fiber (short) and long fibers (continuous long), bonded together by chemical, mechanical, heat or solvent treatment. The term is used in the textile manufacturing industry to denote fabrics, such as felt, which are neither woven nor knitted. Nonwovens can be made absorbent, breathable, drapable, flame resistant, heat sealable, light, lint-free, moldable, soft, stable, stiff, tear resistant, water repellent if needed. Obviously, though, not all the properties mentioned can be combined in a single nonwoven, particularly those that are contradictory. Some non-woven materials lack sufficient strength unless densified or reinforced by a backing. In recent years, non-wovens have become an alternative to polyurethane foam. There’re vast uses of nonwoven fabric in technical textiles industry as raw material.

Types of nonwoven fabric:
(According to their manufacturing process)

1. Staple nonwovens:
Staple nonwovens are made in 4 steps. Fibers are first spun, cut to a few centimeters length, and put into bales. The staple fibers are then blended, “opened” in a multistep process, dispersed on a conveyor belt, and spread in a uniform web by a wetlaid, airlaid, or carding/cross lapping process. Wetlaid operations typically use 0.25 to 0.75 in (0.64 to 1.91 cm) long fibers, but sometimes longer if the fiber is stiff or thick. Airlaid processing generally uses 0.5 to 4.0 in (1.3 to 10.2 cm) fibers. Carding operations typically use ~1.5″ (3.8 cm) long fibers.

2. Melt-blown:
Melt-blown nonwovens are produced by extruding melted polymer fibers through a spin net or die consisting of up to 40 holes per inch to form long thin fibers which are stretched and cooled by passing hot air over the fibers as they fall from the die. The resultant web is collected into rolls and subsequently converted to finished products. The extremely fine fibers (typically polypropylene) differ from other extrusions, particularly spun bond, in that they have low intrinsic strength but much smaller size offering key properties. Often melt blown is added to spun bond to form SM or SMS webs, which are strong and offer the intrinsic benefits of fine fibers such as fine filtration, low pressure drop as used in face masks

3. Spunlaid nonwovens:
Spunlaid, also called spunbond, nonwovens are made in one continuous process. Fibers are spun and then directly dispersed into a web by deflectors or can be directed with air streams. This technique leads to faster belt speeds, and cheaper costs. Several variants of this concept are available, such as the REICOFIL machinery PP spunbonds run faster and at lower temperatures than PET spunbonds, mostly due to the difference in melting points.

Nonwovens can also start with films and fibrillate, serrate or vacuum-form them with patterned holes. Fiberglass nonwovens are of two basic types. Wet laid mat or “glass tissue” use wet-chopped, heavy denier fibers in the 6 to 20 micrometer diameter range. Flame attenuated mats or “batts” use discontinuous fine denier fibers in the 0.1 to 6 range. The latter is similar, though run at much higher temperatures, to melt-blown thermoplastic nonwovens. Wet laid mat is almost always wet resin bonded with a curtain coater.


  1. Greater strength per basis weight than competing fabrics.
  2. High levels of uniformity.
  3. Form holding in the Z direction.
  4. High tear and tensile strength.
  5. Dimensional stability.
  6. Consistency in high temperature applications.
  7. Application-specific engineering.
  8. Ability to form composites for advanced performance.


  1. Single-use
  2. Have a limited life
  3. Low strength than other fibers
  4. Compared with the textile cloth strength and durability is poor.
  5. Can’t be cleaned like other fabrics.
  6. The fibers are arranged in a certain direction, so it is easy to split from the right angle and so on. Therefore, improvements in production methods are mainly aimed at preventing the improvement of division.

Application area and product images:

nonwoven technical textile products

Raw Material: Woven Fabric
The formal structure of a woven fabric is defined by weave, thread density, crimp and yarn count. Woven fabrics are made by using two or more sets of yarn interlaced at right angles to each other. Much variety is produced by weaving.

Features of woven fabric:

  • Thickness
  • Areal density
  • Fabric cover factor
  • Porosity,
  • Stiffness
  • Drapability,
  • Resistance to creasing,
  • Air permeability,
  • Heat insulation

Advantages of woven fabric:

  1. Cost-effectiveness: Industrial woven materials are generally very affordable while offering a substantial return-on-investment in the form of a long-lasting, high- performance textile.
  2. Environmentally friendly: Weaving already requires very little energy, and many textile manufacturers use advanced thermal recycling technology to minimize the heat waste associated with woven production.
  3. Low specific weigh: Due to their low specific weight, woven materials may often be stiffer than glass while also having a higher specific strength.
  4. Excellent physical characteristics

Disadvantages of Woven fabric:

  1. The fabric cannot be stretched and does not shrink. While this does produce a higher quality clothing, it increases production costs.
  2. It is less soft thus less comfortable.
  3. Most cotton weave fabrics, such as denim, are simple to launder and typically will not shrink or wrinkle. Other woven fabrics such as linen and silk can be laborious with washing, especially if the fabric requires dry cleaning or pressing.

Application criteria of woven fabric in technical textiles:

  1. Medical Textile
  2. Automotive textiles
  3. Filter fabrics
  4. Electronic textiles
  5. Sports Textile

Product with images:

woven technical textile products

Raw Material: Knit Fabric
Most of technical textiles are made of non-conventional materials, they are usually man-made fibers, in many cases special types developed for specific applications. Then so, knitting fabric is also used for technical textile.

Features of knitted fabric:

  • Wrinkle resistant
  • Elastic nature
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Most require little care
  • Come in every color

Advantages of knitted fabric:

  1. Comfortable to wear. Knit fabrics have a soft texture and great breathability. In the hot season, knitted garments allow the body to breathe, in cold weather, on the contrary, keep you warm.
  2. Fabulous stretch. Knitwear can stretch in all four directions. You can create a form- fitting wear, which does not constrain movement. Knitted garments take the shape of a human body.
  3. Versatility is the main reason that this fabric is in great demand. Manufacturers use various types of knitting to create underwear, T-shirts, dresses, tunics, trousers, shirts, dressing gowns and more. Products made from knit fabric can be thin, airy, warm and cozy.
  4. Easy to care. Knitwear is wrinkle-resistant and durable, it does not lose the shape and color for a long time.

Disadvantages of knitted fabric:

  1. Prone to pilling. The best way to keep original appearance of garments is dry-cleaning. Knit fabrics with synthetic fibers are the most resistant to pilling and have a sufficiently dense and elastic structure.
  2. Not easy to sew. Knitted fabrics have a raveling edge; it is hard to work with seams.
  3. Choose silhouette properly. It is very topical for close-fitting dresses and skirts. Be careful, choose garments which suit you and emphasize advantages of your figure.

Application criteria of knitted fabric in technical textiles:

  • Nets
  • Spacer fabrics
  • Knitted fabrics in construction
  • Knitted fabrics in medical treatment
  • Knitted fabrics in functional clothes

Product images:

knitted technical textile products

Technical textile is a vital aspect of textile industry. With the advancement of technology this sector will advance and replace the elemental substances which we still use which are non-renewable and harmful for environment. Technical textile can bring sustainability and balance in the consumer market. It’s a sector with huge potential. As a developing country we are still in back foot in this matter. We should pick up the pace and take more initiative in this field.


  1. High Performance Technical Textiles Edited by Roshan Paul
  2. Handbook of Technical Textiles – Second Edition; Volume 1 Edited by A Richard Horrocks, Subhash C. Anand
  3. Fibres to Fabrics by Bev Ashford
  4. Textile Engineering – An Introduction Edited by Yasir Nawab
  5. Textile Technology – An Introduction, 2nd Edition by Thomas Gries, Dieter Veit, Burkhard Wulfhorst
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Textile
  7. https://www.hsmemagazine.com/article/technical-textiles
  8. http://technotex.gov.in/raw.pdf

You may also like:

  1. Military Textiles: Features, Characteristics and Materials
  2. Kevlar Fiber: Types, Properties, Manufacturing Process and Applications
  3. Aramid Fibers: Types, Properties, Manufacturing Process and Applications
  4. Application of High Performance Fibers for Special Purposes
  5. High Performance Polyethylene Fibers – An Overview
  6. Comparison of Normal Fibers and High Performance Fibers
  7. Anti Ballistic Fabric: Materials, Protection, Properties and Application
  8. Carbon Fiber: Its Manufacturing Process and Uses
  9. Ballistic Protective Textiles – An Overview
  10. Industrial Textiles and Their Applications
  11. Camouflage Fabrics: Manufacturing and Applications in Defense Textiles

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