High-performance materials, specifically high-performance textiles, have a wide range of applications across various industries. Manufactured with the use of traditional fabric-making processes — such as spinning, weaving, and knitting — these engineered fabrics can be designed to meet specific strength and corrosion-resistance requirements and can be made to provide superior protection against natural elements.
These cutting-edge textiles find applications in areas including protective-clothing manufacturing for military and firefighting applications, stain- and moisture-repellent coatings for industrial applications, and corrosion-resistant membranes for corrosive chemical processes. Thanks to this great versatility, the high-performance textile industry is showing sustained annual growth rates close to 20%.
In chlor-alkali processing, in particular, high-performance fabrics play a critical role in ensuring optimal efficiency.
Understanding Chlor-Alkali Processing
Chlor-alkali processing is essentially the electrolysis of sodium chloride (NaCl), allowing for the creation of chlorine and sodium hydroxide, along with hydrogen. All three of these chemicals have many large-scale industrial applications.
The chlor-alkali process makes use of brine and a membrane cell. The anode oxidizes the chloride ion, which loses an electron to become free chlorine gas. The hydrogen ions are pulled from water and reduced at the cathode, forming hydrogen gas. The semi-permeable membrane at the center permits the sodium ions to travel to a second chamber, where they react with water to produce sodium hydroxide.
All of the materials involved in chlor-alkali processing — both raw materials and final products — are highly reactive and corrosive. Therefore, inert materials are essential for successfully carrying out the process.
Tex Tech produces an array of high-performance fabrics specifically suited for such applications. These carbon fiber-based woven materials are resistant to corrosion and can be significantly stretched, improving flexibility and formability. These nonporous woven textile membranes can greatly improve the efficiency of the chlor-alkali process.
Common Applications for Chlor-Alkali Materials
It’s critical to work with a fabric that is compatible with chlor-alkali processing to ensure optimal quality of the resultant chemicals. As mentioned earlier, all three products produced — chlorine, hydrogen, and sodium hydroxide — are widely employed across various industries.
In fact, chlorine is used in roughly 55% of all industrial chemical processes and has applications in the manufacturing of plastics and resins, water purification processes, and the production of pure silicon, which is used in electronic components and solar panels.
Similarly, sodium hydroxide, or caustic soda, is widely used in food manufacturing, aluminum manufacturing, and the textile industry, in addition to serving as a cleaning agent.
Hydrogen, as a combustible gaseous fuel, is used in fuel cells, and in the manufacture of ammonia and hydrogen peroxide.
Given the critical nature of chlor-alkali processing and the corrosive nature of the materials involved, it’s essential to make use of a woven fabric that is completely compatible with the process.
As an industry leader in cutting-edge, high-performance materials, Tex Tech offers a wide range of innovative products to suit all types of industrial needs. With over a century of experience and over 7,000 textile products under our belt, we are uniquely qualified to assist clients in the material selection process.
To learn more about our high-performance textile products, including those for chlor-alkali processing, contact the team today.