FlBROUS MATERIALS TECHNOLOGY is a dynamic field in which exciting, high-performance products are being developed almost daily to benefit such diverse areas as biomedical and aerospace engineering, construction, transportation, pollution control, and body protection. In recent years, scientists have learned to capitalize on advanced materials technology to produce products with high-performance features.
The four-day conference upon which this book is based highlighted four major areas—composites, biomedical materials, protective clothing, and geotextiles—where advanced textile fibers and structures have had and are having a significant impact. Symposium sessions on each of these four areas were developed by Christopher Pastore (North Carolina State University), Donald J. Lyman (University of Utah), Tyrone L . Vigo (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Southern Regional Research Laboratories), and Ian Peggs (GeoSyntec, Inc.). The resulting book highlights the main focuses of the symposium.
The section on composites includes such important topics as 3-D braiding, 3 -D multilayer woven fabrics, multiaxial warp knit structures, braided reinforced vehicles, and silicon-coated wood fiber fillers for polyethylene.
Design of laminated semiabsorbable bone plates, theoretical modeling of geometric forms and laminates for deformation behavior in bioapplication requirements for fibrous materials, and recent advances in suture developments are highlighted in the section on biomedical materials. Chapters on protective-clothing technology present in-depth discussions on uses of high-performance fibers such as Spectra 1000, the world’s strongest fiber, and PBI (polybenzimidazole) blended with Kevlar and Nomex in clothing that offers protection from knife and bullet wounds. Also included is information on printing Nomex. Thermal transmission properties of wool blends with Kevlar, Nomex, Ryton, and Inidex for firefighters’ clothing, the effects of simultaneous application of intense heat and dynamic mechanical forces on protective clothing, and the melt-stick performance of flame-treated polyester-cotton blends further expand the coverage on protective clothing. The symposium presented the first reports on user test experience with NeutraTherm, the permanently affixed polyethylene glycol phase-change treated textiles for controlling clothing temperature next to the skin, and those results are presented in Chapter 15. This exciting technological advance represents a totally new concept in design and comfort.
Geotextiles are given extensive treatment in the book’s final section, which encompasses the chemical compatibility and long-term stability of geotextiles and their use in waste containment, transportation, and related areas. Polyester durability, polyolefin stabilization, and fiber glass yarns are discussed in detail.
As conference co-chairmen and co-editors of this book, we would like to thank the symposia chairmen, the various individual contributors, and the staff of the American Chemical Society.
Chapter 1 High-Tech Textiles Evolution or Revolution
The new world of textile technology now encompasses realms of products that were not even dreamed of ten years ago. Hightech textiles are prevalent as major components in such diverse products as artificial organs, structural bone replacements, rocket motors and nozzles, space shuttle shields, the Stealth bomber and most of the new design military, commercial and civilian aircraft, boats, bicycles, high-performance sporting goods, road beds, food/water removal systems, pollution control devices, translucent roofs for stadiums, airports and shopping malls, components for converting sea water into potable water, optical fibers for transmission of laser-pulsed communication and extended, temperature-controlled garments. Fibers that are five to ten times as strong as steel on a weight basis now provide the lead technology for making automobiles that are 50% lighter, safer and twice as fuel-efficient as current models. These examples and the history of the development of this technology will be reviewed and discussed in depth in this book.
The textile industry is one of American’s major industries and employs 2.3 million people for producing yarn and converting it into finished textile products. The American consumer spends $110 billion annually for apparel and an additional $120 billion for other textiles such as upholstery, furnishings, carpets, etc. (1). Over two-thirds of all carpets made in the United States and one-third of all carpets made in the world are produced in the Dalton, Georgia area. This constitutes about 1.3 billion pounds of this textile product annually (2). Major U. S. automobile manufacturers (such as General Motors, Ford and Chrysler) use approximately 18 million yards of fabric in their vehicles. The textile industry purchases $2 billion worth of new foreign machinery annually on which they pay $110 million in import taxes (3). In spite of this massive machinery purchase and fantastic domestic consumption, the United States still produces only 13 billion pounds of fiber while it consumes 16 billion pounds – a 3 billion pound shortfall (4).
With such impressive statistics, one would assume that textiles should be in a very strong economic position. Yet, exactly the opposite is true! In 1988, foreign imports of textiles accounted for a $20 billion deficit second only to the monstrous $55 billion auto import deficit (5).
While the staid textile industry is working out its dubious future in areas of conventional uses, forward-looking companies and entrepreneurs have begun to capitalize on advanced materials technology by utilizing modified natural and specially constructed synthetic fibers to produce textile products with exciting and high tech features. This high tech evolution or revolution is worldwide. However, the contributions in this book are all from American scientists and companies, indicating that substantial progress has already been achieved and more innovative developments are on the horizon. Although the tenacity of these new textile fibers has not yet reached the theoretically predicted 100 gram-perdenier level and the new textile products are not yet in the realm of the apparel in the classic movie “The Man in the White Suit”, there are many exciting innovations in diverse areas of technology.