WHAT IS TECHNICAL FABRIC?
There are many kinds of technical fabric available on the market. They are used in everything from sportswear, to even sleepwear. A technical fabric is a material that provides some kind of function and benefit. Primarily, these materials were produced for non-aesthetic purposes, where function was the main criteria. However, as fabric technology continues to grow, finding technical fabrics that are both functional and stylish are now far easier to come by.
SOME POPULAR TECHNICAL FABRICS INCLUDE:
- Airflow Sports Stretch – poly-blend, breathable, wearer stays cool
- Breathable Waterproof – 100% water resistant, quick to dry, breathable
- Power Net – fray-resistant, mesh-like, highly flexible, breathable
- Heavy Lycra – stretchy and form-fitting, easy to manipulate, excellent recovery
- Neoprene – very thick and spongy, black-out, highly flexible, insulating
- Ripstop – waterproof, strong and solid, weatherproof
- Scuba – flexible, lightweight, modern, easy to work with
- Softshell Jersey – 2 layers of bonded fabric, heavy yet flexible, breathable, pliable
HOW IS IT MANUFACTURED?
Every technical fabric is manufactured in their own unique way. Technical expertise, wide ranges of fibers, fabric performance and techniques are explored to create the most proficient and useful materials available. Some common types of technical materials can include:
- Industrial textiles
- Functional textiles
- Performance textiles
- High-tech textiles
- Engineered textiles
Each of these are manufactured individually, using a great amount of scientific research and analysis to ensure they are fit for purpose.
PURPOSES OF TECHNICAL FABRIC
Technical fabrics can range from protective clothing, to medical textiles, to sportswear and even spacesuits. The purpose of these materials is always to provide a function to the intended purpose. For example, firefighters require a uniform that can protect them from heat and radiation. The fabrics used to create these uniforms are specialised and go through years of testing.
Because there are so many different functions for technical textiles, it goes without saying that there are a plethora of properties. The functional properties normally outweigh the aesthetic qualities, as these are fabrics designed for a function and a purpose. They can be woven or non-woven, or a fusion of both. They can also be made from a single or several layers. There are many kinds of fibres that can go into the production of technical fabrics, depending on what the need is.
ADVANTAGES OF TECHNICAL FABRIC
It is not always enough for a textile to look and feel good; as technology advances, it also needs to do good. Whether it is keeping you dry and cool while running the marathon, or providing heat and insulation when trekking in the mountains, technical fabrics provide a huge range of advantages in every day life to the more complex and niche areas. Advancements in textile technology allow us to readily enjoy these materials on a daily basis, including garments as simple as those that allow your skin to breathe, while keeping you warm and dry. There are even fabrics that have been combined with satellite technology, that allows tracking, and even phone calls to be made. When it comes to these textiles, the sky truly is the limit.
Wicking fabrics are modern technical fabrics which draw moisture away from the body. They are made of high-tech polyester, which, unlike cotton, absorbs very little water. … Cotton will therefore hang onto your sweat, making your garment heavy and unpleasantly clammy.
Wicking yarn has a different composition to that of regular yarn. A normal yarn is round in shape.
Wicking yarn is always synthetic filament so it’s only available in materials like polyester and nylon.
Wicking yarn isn’t round. It might be cross or flower shaped, as you can see in the diagrams below. Ultimately, it’s designed to have more spaces and channels through which moisture can move.
This process is sometimes referred to as one-way wicking or mechanical wicking. Fabric (like this) is knitted into a particular pattern. The pattern of the fabric forces moisture into the outer layer of the garment.
This means sweat is taken away from the skin and diffused over a large area of the outer fabric. It is then able to evaporate quickly and efficiently.