Q.1117: What are Non-woven and how are they related to paper?

Ans. The base stock for paper, textile and non-woven is typically cellulose fiber, the difference between 3 type of products are how the fibers held together.

- Textiles, where the fibers are held together mainly by mechanical entanglement e.g. woven.

Image of piece of cloth

- Paper, where the cellulose fibers are basically bonded together by weak chemical hydrogen bonds.

- Nonwovens, by contrast, are bonded together in one or more of the following ways:

Image of piece of non-woven                                        Image of piece of non-woven

- Strong chemical bonding agents.  Eg: synthetic resins, latices or solvents.

- Melting adjacent fibers (thermal bonding).

- Fairly random mechanical intertwining of the filaments.  Eg: spun lace bonding (i.e. hydro-entanglement), needle punching, or stitch bonding.

Finished Non-woven products take the form of:

- Coverstock.  Eg: for diapers.

- Geotextiles (geosynthetics).  Eg: consolidating sloping earth banks or for drainage duties in civil engineering.

- Building papers.  Eg: timber frame roofing, breather papers (for building walls), floor covering.

- Tyvek products.  Eg: floppy disk holders, envelopes.

- Other commodity products.  Eg: wipes ; napkins; table cloths; tea bags; apparel interlinings; medical (eg: surgical gowns, face masks, caps, shoe covers, wound dressings); filters (automotive, ventilation, etc); battery separators; carpet backing; oil absorbents.

Although nonwovens are usually thought of as disposables, a sizeable proportion are actually durable items.

Nonwoven! What are they?

How is Nonwoven Fabric used?

Beyond simple definitions, these engineered fabrics open up a world of innovative possibilities for all types of industries.

Nonwovens may be a limited-life, single-use fabric or a very durable fabric. Nonwoven fabrics provide specific functions such as absorbency, liquid repellency, resilience, stretch, softness, strength, flame retardancy, washability, cushioning, filtering, bacterial barriers and sterility. These properties are often combined to create fabrics suited for specific jobs while achieving a good balance between product use-life and cost. They can mimic the appearance, texture and strength of a woven fabric, and can be as bulky as the thickest paddings.

Following are just a few of the properties that can be attained using nonwoven fabrics:

  • Absorbency
  • Bacterial barrier
  • Cushioning
  • Filtering
  • Flame retardancy
  • Liquid repellency
  • Resilience
  • Softness
  • Sterility
  • Strength
  • Stretch
  • Washability

Today, innovations in nonwoven fabrics are growing as rapidly as the demand for them, with almost unlimited possibilities for a wide variety of industries, including:

  • Agricultural coverings
  • Agricultural seed strips
  • Apparel linings
  • Automotive headliners
  • Automotive upholstery
  • Carpeting
  • Civil engineering fabrics
  • Civil engineering geotextiles
  • Disposable diapers
  • Envelopes
  • Filters
  • House wraps
  • Household & personal wipes
  • Hygiene products
  • Insulation
  • Labels
  • Laundry aids
  • Roofing
  • Sterile medical-use products
  • Tags
  • Upholstery
  • Wall coverings



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