Nonwoven fabric is a fabric-like material made from long fibers, 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. Nonwoven materials typically lack strength unless densified or reinforced by a backing. In recent years, nonwovens have become an alternative to polyurethane foam.
In this article, we will explore the definition of non-woven fabrics and provide some examples. Additionally, we will share some interesting facts about non-woven fabrics. Let’s begin!
In this post we'll cover:
- Exploring the World of Nonwoven Fabrics
- Discovering the Different Types of Non-Woven Fabrics
- How Nonwoven Fabric is Manufactured
Exploring the World of Nonwoven Fabrics
Nonwoven fabrics are broadly defined as sheet or web structures that are bonded together by chemical, mechanical, heat, or solvent treatment. These fabrics are made from staple fiber and long fibers that are combined to create a specific material that is neither woven nor knitted. The term “nonwoven” is used in the textile manufacturing industry to denote fabrics such as felt, which are not woven or knitted.
Properties and Functions of Nonwoven Fabrics
Nonwoven fabrics are engineered to provide a wide range of functions and properties, making them suitable for a variety of jobs. Some of the properties and functions of nonwoven fabrics include:
- Flame retardancy
- Liquid repellency
Manufacturing Processes of Nonwoven Fabrics
Nonwoven fabrics can be manufactured using a variety of methods, including:
- Bonding fibers directly
- Entangling filaments
- Perforating porous sheets
- Separating molten plastic
- Converting fibers into a nonwoven web
Discovering the Different Types of Non-Woven Fabrics
Non-woven fabrics are widely used in the market today due to their versatility and ease of production. They are made by bonding fibers together without any weaving or manual construction involved. In this section, we will explore the different types of non-woven fabrics available in the market and their specific uses.
Types of Non-Woven Fabrics
Non-woven fabrics can be classified into different types depending on the materials used and the process of production. Some of the main types of non-woven fabrics include:
- Spunbond Non-Woven Fabric: This type of non-woven fabric is produced by melting and extruding polymer into fine filaments. These filaments are then laid down on a conveyor belt and bonded together using hot energy. Spunbond non-woven fabrics are strong, thin, and ideal for use in construction, safety, and technical applications.
- Meltblown Non-Woven Fabric: This type of non-woven fabric is produced using a similar technique as spunbond non-woven fabric. However, the filaments are much shorter and finer, resulting in a flatter and more uniform fabric. Meltblown non-woven fabrics are commonly used in medical and hygiene products due to their ability to filter out small particles.
- Needle Punch Non-Woven Fabric: This type of non-woven fabric is produced by passing fibers through a series of needles that force the fibers to interlock and bond together. Needle punch non-woven fabrics are strong, durable, and perfect for use in products that require a clean and safe environment.
- Wet Laid Non-Woven Fabric: This type of non-woven fabric is produced by converting natural or synthetic fibers into a slurry. The slurry is then spread out on a conveyor belt and passed through a series of rollers to remove excess water. Wet laid non-woven fabrics are commonly used in the production of wipes, filters, and other products that require a soft and absorbent material.
Choosing the Right Non-Woven Fabric
When choosing a non-woven fabric, it is important to consider the specific use and requirements of the end user. Some factors to consider include:
- Strength and Durability: Certain types of non-woven fabrics are stronger and more durable than others, making them ideal for use in products that require a high level of strength and durability.
- Absorbency: Wet laid non-woven fabrics are ideal for use in products that require a high level of absorbency, such as wipes and filters.
- Cleanliness and Safety: Needle punch non-woven fabrics are perfect for use in products that require a clean and safe environment, such as medical and hygiene products.
- Softness and Comfort: Meltblown non-woven fabrics are ideal for use in products that require a soft and comfortable material, such as diapers and feminine hygiene products.
How Nonwoven Fabric is Manufactured
One popular method for producing nonwoven fabric is the spunbond process. This process involves extruding a polymer resin through a nozzle to form filaments. The filaments are then randomly deposited onto a moving belt, where they are bonded together using thermal or chemical bonding. The resulting web of fibers is then wound onto a roll and can be further processed into a finished product.
Another common method for producing nonwoven fabric is the meltblown process. This process involves extruding a polymer resin through a nozzle and then using hot air to stretch and break the filaments into extremely fine fibers. The fibers are then randomly deposited onto a moving belt, where they are bonded together using thermal bonding. The resulting web of fibers is then wound onto a roll and can be further processed into a finished product.
The drylaid process is another method for producing nonwoven fabric. This process involves laying down fibers onto a moving belt and then using a calendar to bind the fibers together. The fibers can be made from a variety of materials, including cotton, and the resulting fabric can be used in a wide range of applications.
So, non-woven means a fabric that’s not woven. It can be made of fibers or plastic and can be used for a variety of things. It’s a great material for making things that need to be soft or absorbent. So, the next time you need to buy something, you can decide for yourself if non-woven is the right choice. You might be surprised by what you can find!
I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.