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Applications of Medical Fabrics

What Are Medical Textiles?

The term “medical textile” refers to materials that are engineered for use in medical applications. It includes anything from versatile fibrous fabrics designed to safely treat wounds to coated and laminated materials used in air holding applications, PPE, and more.

Since these textiles are designed with medical use in mind, they have a number of properties that non-medical textiles do not. For example, they are non-toxic, non-carcinogenic, non-allergenic, antimicrobial, and biocompatible. These qualities ensure they are safe for personnel and patients.

Medical textiles are found in many medical devices and supplies. Below, we highlight some of the typical applications of these textiles.

Non-Implantable Fabric Applications

Applications of Medical Fabrics

Non-implantable medical products are used for various external patient care and treatment purposes, including monitoring patient conditions, protecting against infection, and promoting healing. Examples include tourniquets, blood pressure cuffs, inflatable casts, and COPD vests. The materials from which these products are made must be suitable for out-of-body applications and, depending on the application, contact with skin.

Tex Tech medical textiles fully meet these requirements. They exhibit the following properties:

  • Air holding capabilities
  • Filtration capabilities
  • Antimicrobial
  • Low to no virus/blood penetration
  • Thermal resistance
  • Flame retardance
  • Radiation shielding
  • Abrasion resistance
  • IR/RF/Heat weldability

Healthcare and Hygiene Medical Fabric Applications

In the healthcare industry, maintaining clean and sanitary conditions is important to ensuring the health and safety of patients and personnel. Medical fabrics for health and hygiene are used not only by hospitals but also by healthcare facilities and individuals for home use. Products for use in healthcare and hygiene should be clean, contamination-free, and prevent the spread of contaminants and pathogens. They may either be washable or discarded after a single-use.

Tex Tech offers healthcare fabrics that are used in the following applications:

  • Medical Isolation Gowns Level (Level 1-4)
  • PPE face masks
  • Medical beds (inflation chambers to reduce bed sores)
  • Pressure Infuser Bags (PIB)
  • Shoe covers
  • Medical tray covers
  • COPD vests
  • Medical braces
  • Inflatable tourniquets
  • Blood pressure cuffs
  • More
Applications of Medical Fabrics

Our fabrics are cleanable, comfortable. and antimicrobial. Additionally, medical fabrics from Tex Tech can be either reusable or disposable for reduced or eliminated virus/blood penetration.

Contact the Tex Tech Experts for Your Medical Fabrics Needs Today

Looking for quality fabrics for your medical application? Turn to the engineered textile experts at Tex Tech Industries! Equipped with over 100 years of experience, we have the knowledge and skill necessary to develop the appropriate products for nearly any application or industry, including non-implantable and hygiene-focused medical products.

For more information about our medical textile offerings or custom capabilities, contact us today. To discuss your textile requirements with one of our team members, request a quote.

Inherent vs. Treated FR Fabrics: What’s the Difference?

Many workers are presented with thermal hazards such as molten metals, arc flash, hot liquids, and flame. In environments where these hazards are present, flame-resistant (FR) personal protective equipment (PPE) is of paramount importance. When selecting such gear there are many important terms that one may be confronted with. The most common distinction is inherent vs. treated fabrics.

A piece of protective equipment can be classified as an inherent fabric if it is woven using some percentage of a fiber that is itself chemically flame-resistant. These are generally oxidized fibers or fibers synthetically derived from petrochemicals that have been chemically altered. In such garments, the flame-resistant properties are inherently present in the fiber’s polymer structure and can never be lost due to washing the garment.

Protective equipment may be labeled as a treated fabric if fibers have been chemically treated to achieve FR properties, either before weaving or as a chemical finish on the garment. Some treated fabrics can lose their FR capabilities over time or with frequent or improper washing, although advances in the FR field have produced treated fabrics that retain their protective qualities for the entire lifetime of the product. The first such treated fabric was introduced in 1987, and the difference in efficacy between treated and inherent FR fabrics has been shrinking ever since. Even so, many purchasers of FR equipment turn instead to inherent fabrics due to the ongoing misconception that all treated FR garments will lose their protective properties over time.

Inherent vs. Heat Treated Fabrics

Inherent vs. Treated FR Fabrics

Heat-treated fabrics are materials made from the addition of flame-retardant chemicals to provide some level of flame resistance. The additive forms a strong bond with the polymer of the fiber, which is often itself not flame-resistant. This bond is difficult or impossible to remove when proper laundering and care is applied. One potential pitfall of such gear is that there is no way to visually inspect that the FR quality of the equipment is intact. If outside the useful lifetime of the equipment, or if improperly laundered, the FR qualities may be reduced or removed with almost no way to determine that this has happened.

This problem is not present with inherent FR fabrics, as the chemical properties of the fibers themselves cannot be washed out. This may cause inherent fabrics to sell at higher costs since they typically offer longer useful lifetimes. Since there is no regulatory body governing the use of this term, however, it has often been applied loosely—often to garments containing no more than 15% FR fibers blended with naturally flammable fibers. Some garments that are woven of natural fibers treated before the weaving process have even been marketed as inherent, so to some extent, the term has lost meaning.

Inherent FR Fabrics: Pros and Cons

The primary advantages of inherent FR fabrics include:

  • High level of protection from thermal hazards
  • Often present higher thermal protective performance (TPP) scores than treated fabrics
  • Long service life
  • FR properties will never wash out
  • Garments will not ignite in normal O2 concentrations
  • May char or expand (typically garments created with oxidized fibers) to provide increased thermal resistance under continuous exposure to a thermal hazard
  • Lightweight

The most notable disadvantages of inherent FR fabrics include:

  • Higher upfront cost (albeit offset by longer useful lifetime)
  • Purportedly less comfortable than some treated fabrics of cotton or other cellulosic origins
  • Inconsistency in application of the term ‘inherent fabric’ that is often driven by marketing motives, rather than science and metrics relating to performance

Treated FR Fabrics: Pros and Cons

Here are some of the primary advantages of treated FR fabrics:

  • Cheaper than most inherent garments
  • Many available treated fabrics now provide life-of-garment FR protection
  • Generally considered more comfortable
  • Many available treated fabrics now only char similar to inherent fabrics, rather than combusting when exposed to a heat source
  • Most treated fabrics will spontaneously extinguish a flame when the source of heat is removed

The largest disadvantages of treated fabrics include:

  • Some treated fabrics will lose their protective qualities over time
  • Some treated fabrics off-gas as a method of flame retardancy, producing harmful gases that in some cases include gaseous cyanide
  • Many treated fabrics use increased mass as a means of increasing FR metrics such as TPP, which can increase heat strain and decrease comfort when wearing a heavier garment for extended periods
  • Some 88% cotton, 12% nylon (88/12 FR) and 100% cotton blends, in particular, lose their protective qualities over time with even proper laundering
  • If the flame-resistant capabilities have diminished, there is no way to tell upon visual inspection

Tex Tech: The Industry Leaders in FR Fabric Technology

Even with an understanding of the differences and usages of terms such as treated and inherent, the key factor is ultimately the safety and protective value offered to the wearer. In this regard, a more important distinction is proven vs. unproven. Tex Tech and our CarbonX brand have repeatedly proven effective in laboratory testing, as well as in the field—all with the added benefits of comfort and affordability. We work primarily with inherent fabrics.

  • CarbonX’s range hoods, gloves, undergarments, and other protective garments for industrial, motor-racing, and firefighting are superior in comfort and durability and made with inherent FR fibers.
  • Tex Tech provides aircraft seat fire blocking with only inherent fibers—and nothing else blended in—that lasts for many years on an airplane
  • Tex Tech offers high-tech Thermal Protection System (TPS) fabrics and materials for space launch vehicles to withstand rocket burn and the thermal stresses of re-entry

Tex Tech Industries has been a leader in the engineered textile industry for over a century. Throughout this time, we have devoted enormous resources to research and development in the areas of textile and fiber solutions. We have pioneered more than 7,000 of the best performing products in the marketplace and a wide range of high-performance materials.

We provide innovative solutions for all engineered fabric requirements, backed with best-in-class customer service. We invite you to contact our experienced engineers to discuss how Tex Tech can provide the material solutions you need.

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Belcotex Products by Tex Tech

Belcotex manufactures sustainable, environmentally friendly fibers that deliver reliability and versatility in numerous applications. These noncombustible fibers are designed for use with high operating temperatures up to 1050° C. Belcotex’s fibrous materials provide protection, insulation, sealing, filtering, and strengthening.

Tex Tech Industries utilizes Belcotex fibers in our high-end, woven, and nonwoven textiles, selected for the distinct advantages they deliver in a broad range of applications. Our proprietary Tex Tech Woven Style 10089 is composed of Belcotex fibers, providing unmatched benefits in the applications they serve.

About Tex Tech Woven Style 10089

Tex Tech Woven Style 10089 is a high-performance fabric that features quality construction with the following specifications:

  • 100% Belcotex fibers, free from organic binders
  • Shot-free (Fiber Index 100)
  • Non-respirable
  • 2×2 basket weave
  • 30×15 warp/picks per inch

Tex Tech Woven Style 10089 features superior thermal properties, with a melting range greater than 1500° C. This fiber is designed for long-term continuous use at temperatures up to 1050° C, making it an ideal selection for a range of high-temperature operations and purposes. Mechanical properties of the Tex Tech Woven Style 10089 include:

  • Weight of 15.7 OPSY
  • 04” thickness
  • 2% shrinkage at 475° F over two hours
  • MD breaking strength of 121.67 lbs.
  • CMD breaking strength of 62 lbs.
  • 7 Mullen burst (lbs./in²)
  • Superior drapability
  • Very soft hand

Woven fibers are available for combination with non-woven fibers. Virtually any woven fiber can be used, including popular options such as:

  • Pre-ox pan
  • Para-aramids
  • Meta-aramids
  • SiO2 fibers
  • Pre-ox pan and para-aramid spunlace

Applications & Benefits

Tex Tech’s Woven Style 10089 is ideally suited for use in high stakes industries such as:

  • Aerospace
  • Defense
  • Automotive
  • Industrial/construction

With the use of Belcotex fibers, the Tex Tech Woven Style 10089 delivers distinctive benefits and capabilities.

  • Protection

Belcotex fibers are used to protect people, capital goods, and the environment. You’ll find these fibers in non-toxic, life-saving systems; fireproof endothermic acoustic insulation and fire blocker; as well as passenger seats on airplanes; efficient automobile emission control; and heat shields and insulation within passenger vehicles.

  • Insulation

Belcotex fibers are used as insulating materials for the purposes of saving energy and other resources while reducing emissions, supporting efficient emission control within the automotive industry, and in a range of industrial applications.

  • Sealing

For heat and fire safety, Belcotex fibers deliver high-temperature heat sealing. These fibers are trusted in airplane passenger cabins, automobiles, and in a wide range of industrial applications.

  • Filtration

Belcotex fibers are used to filter gases and fluids used in life-supporting systems, such as those found in passenger aircraft.

  • Strengthening

Belcotex’s lightweight construction technologies and fiber-reinforced composites provide strength to improve the durability and reliability of the products and components in which these fibers are used.

Learn More About Belcotex Products from Tex Tech

Belcotex fibers offer superior qualities that allow Tex Tech to produce high-performance, reliable materials for clients, serving a range of industries and applications. These superior fibers can be combined with other fiber material to create custom solutions offering the properties required to meet the needs of any application.

Learn more about how Tex Tech Industries uses Belcotex non-woven fibers to create superior textile options for a wide range of industries. Contact us today.