Non-woven fabrics are flat, porous sheets or web-structured materials created through the bonding of fibers or perforation of films using chemical, mechanical, or thermal processes. Unlike woven materials, non-woven fabrics do not require weaving or knitting, so the component fibers do not need to be converted into yarn first.
Non-wovens are available in a wide range of materials and designs and can be enhanced to offer numerous advantages over woven fabrics, including:
- Increased Absorbency
- Improved Filtering
- Flame Retardancy
- Liquid Repellency
- Sterility and Bacterial Barrier
- Strength and Resilience
- Softness and Flexibility
- Improved Washability
Needle-punched non-woven fabrics are created by carding loose fibers into a felt-like batting that is then punched together using barbed felting needles. The process can be used to create fabrics of varying thickness and strength, and the needling process often leaves a pattern of holes on the surface that varies depending on the number of needles in the needle board, needle size, punching density, and type of fiber.
Needling is achieved by the repetitive use of thousands of barbed threading needles attached to a needle board. The board is attached to a loom beam, which holds the board in place and moves it up and down on a loom. The barbs on each needle grasp fibers on the downward step, carrying those fibers deeper into the fabric. A draw roll rotates to pull the fabric through the loom as the needles retract upward. Needle sizes, quantities, and distributions can be adjusted based on the particular needs of the fabric. Penetration frequency and distance can be adjusted to enhance fabric strength; however, too much needling can cause damage to the fiber, so it is important to correctly calibrate needle penetration based on overall material thickness and fiber type.
Materials Used in Non-Woven Fabrics
Non-woven fabrics can be created from a variety of materials, including:
- Meta-Aramids such as Nomex and Conex are semicrystalline fibers created through wet spinning. They are valued for their resistance to extreme temperatures, chemicals, and abrasion. Meta-Aramids function at temperatures up to 400°F, which makes them particularly useful for aerospace, industrial, and filtration applications.
- Para-Aramids, which include Kevlar and Twaron, are a more rigid crystalline fiber with fixed, longitudinally aligned polymer chains. Known for their exceptional strength and durability, para-aramids can operate at temperatures up to 446 °F, and are often used in ballistics, industrial equipment, and personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Polyacrylonitrile (PAN) materials include Panox and Pyron. They are considered semicrystalline thermoplastics, but will degrade rather than melting when exposed to high temperatures. This unique quality makes them particularly useful for industrial applications with friction. PAN materials operate reliably in temperatures up to 450 °F.
- Polyphenylene Sulfides (PPS) such as Torcon and Procon are high-performance engineering-grade thermoplastics. They are exceptionally strong and durable, with excellent dimensional stability, chemical resistance, and temperature resistance to a maximum operating temperature of 375 °F. The superior strength and stability of PPS materials make them ideal for aerospace, engineering, and industrial filtration applications.
Other materials commonly used in the manufacture of non-woven fabrics include:
- Acrylic (PyroTex)
- Teflon (PTFE)
Applications of Needle Punched Non-Woven Fabrics
Tex Tech is a dedicated supplier of custom designed non-woven fabrics for industries that include
- Aerospace Applications
- Automotive Applications
- High-Performance Materials
- Filtration Materials
- Protective Equipment
In addition to the structural strength imparted by the needle punching process, non-woven fabrics can be tailored to enhance specific characteristics, such as fire retardancy, liquid repellency, impact resistance, and thermal and electrical insulation. The exceptional versatility of non-wovens makes them useful for numerous specialized products, such as:
- Space Vehicle Thermal Protection Systems
- Thermal Blankets and Insulation
- High-Temperature Industrial Filters
- Acoustic Insulation
- Mattress Fireblocking
- Vehicle Seats and Trunk Liners
- Cut Resistant Felts
- Primary Carpet Backing and Underlay
- Wall Coverings
- Engineering Composites
- Synthetic Leather
- Fire Barriers
- Moisture Absorbing
- Puncture resistance
- Welding Protection
- Battery Insulation
Tex Tech’s Non-Woven Fabric Capabilities
For more than 100 years, Tex Tech has been a leading manufacturer of carded needle-punch non-woven fabrics for industries ranging from fire protection to automobile components. Our talented designers and engineers are dedicated to providing innovative solutions using advanced research and development methods to create, test, and patent fabrics with new and enhanced characteristics for a variety of industries and applications. With manufacturing facilities located in the US and UK, Tex Tech has the capacity to engineer the perfect non-woven fabric for your needs.
To learn more about Tex Tech’s cutting-edge non-woven fabric technology, contact us today.
Download the Non-Woven Materials Guide
Learn more about the versatility and benefits of non-woven fabrics in our latest guide to non-woven materials.Download the Guide