The Science behind Industrial Fabric
January 1, 2019
Storage of fragile, dangerous or corrosive materials is an exceedingly-important industry, and requires the development of reliable fabrics—ranging from hermetic, air-tight storage in the interest of longevity, to tear-resistant fabrics for the transportation of nuclear power generation constituents to overseas locations. Given that these industrial fabrics are primarily of non-apparel utility, the processes for making them tend to be unique and intensive.
Fibers Used in Industrial Fabrics
High-performance fabrics, such as flame retardant woven aramid fibers, are used in applications where high-strength and force-resistance are necessary (such as in the aerospace industry and the Armed Forces). Their ballistic capabilities are derived from the chemical bond strength, which is realized by the alignment of the molecules along the axis of the fiber. The high heat-resistance is also a manifestation of this alignment, and aramid fabric will not ignite or melt in the presence of air at sea-level concentrations.
Fiberglass fabrics are a relatively new invention in the field of industrial fabrics. Vaunted for more than their ability to induce total internal reflection for communications purposes, fiberglass is often woven as a part of a tapestry in conjunction with other industrial fabrics. It has the properties of being completely water-proof—it is spun glass, after all—as well as fire-resistant.
Lightweight and exhibiting a high degree of tensile stress, industrial fiberglass fabric has many other advantages: it is resistant to corrosion, chemicals, and bacteria. Although it’s lighter than steel, it has a similar tensile strength and won’t buckle under pressure. These properties are so significant that fiberglass mesh is employed in jet engine parts, shipbuilding and applications where a heat shield is necessary.
Most of these industrial fabrics have low thermal conductivity, which, chemically, means that heat is disbursed evenly and quickly through the surface area and volume, which doesn’t give any isolated region a chance to start melting before the heat is conveyed to the rest. With their ability to handle applications as wide as erosion control, and their premier sealant properties for hermetic bags for transport, industrial fabrics can be used for any application.