Technical textiles are mainly attributed to engineered structures manufactured primarily for their technical and performance properties rather than their decorative characterization. They include geotextiles for soil reinforcement, geotextiles for the agriculture industry, medical textiles, protective clothes like flame retardant fabrics, stab and radiation protection, bulletproof vests, and astronaut cloth.
The technical textiles field is one of the leading sectors in the textile industry with a global growth rate of about 4% against the 1% growth rate of the home and apparel industry.
Technical textiles divided into 12 groups, depending on the final application:
- Medical textiles (Medtech):
Medical textiles are textile materials such as fibers, yarns, and fabrics that are used for health care, hygiene, infection control, polymeric implants, medical equipment, and smart technologies. These textiles help to improve medical techniques’ performance and to control bad environmental conditions. Tissue engineering is one of their interesting usages.
- Ecological protection textile (Oekotech):
Air filtration, erosion protection, floor sealing, cleaning and prevention of water pollution, waste recycling, etc are some common applications of Oekotech.
- Protective textile (Protech):
The main goal of Protech production is to take care of someone life who has a dangerous job. The demand for these kinds of textiles is increasing around the world and ISO and ASTM organizations have also published standards for the quality control of them to be considered as a technical protective fabric. A lot of protective fabrics are found in the markets:
- Heat and flame resistance
- Electric arc flash discharge
- Solvent and chemical protection
- stab protection
- astronaut cloth
In processing of these kinds of textiles Nomex (Meta-Para aramids) and Marlan (Wool-viscose-polyamide), glass fibers, Kevlar, are used because of their special features like high tensile strength, high-temperature resistance, transparency, flame resistance, etc.
- Agro-textiles (Agrotech):
Agro-textiles are designed to protect agro-products against unfavorable weather conditions, microorganisms, and unwanted environmental factors.
- Clothing Textiles (Clothtech):
Technical textiles can be applied in clothes and shoes. They are maybe included invisible parts of clothes such as labels, zippers, sewing threads, fiber fills, shoelaces, etc.
- domestic textiles (Hometech):
Some fabrics which are used as internal decorations, sun protections, cushions, fireproofs, pillows, furniture, etc are also in the technical textile category. In the manufacturing process of these goods either fibers which are resistant to high temperature or fire-retardant additives can be used.
- Textiles used in transportation (mobiletech):
Technical textiles can also be used in the construction of aircraft, ships, railways, and spacecraft. In addition, these textiles might be applied in a car trunk and seat coverings, seat belts, cabin air filtrations, airbags, etc.
- Packaging textiles (packtech):
Different types of fibers, yarns, fabrics and polymers which are probably used in variety of packaging, bags, covers, containers, etc can be considered as a paktech.
- Textile used in sport clothes (sportech):
Technical textiles can also be used in the preparation of shoes, sports equipment, cycling, sports bags, etc as raw materials.
- Textile used in building constructions (buildtech):
Many constructors use technical textiles to reinforce concrete and interior construction, as sound insulations, filter fabrication, sun protections, building safety, etc.
- Geotextiles (geotech):
Geotextiles are used in building construction as reinforcement. Geotextiles include permeable fabrics which have great durability and strength with low water adsorption. Their application consists of civil engineering, road construction, dam engineering, soil sealing, and drainage systems. Woven and nonwoven polypropylene and polyester fabrics are common geotechs.
- Industrial textiles (Indutech):
Indutech includes textiles that are used in the chemical and electrical industries. For example, filters, insulators, etc.
- Common fibers are used in technical textiles:
Different types of fibers including natural, synthetic, mineral, and metallic fibers can be used in this area.
Demand for these textiles has been 165 billion dollars in 2018 and it is expected to reach 220 million dollars by 2025. Asia and Oceania had been the biggest manufacturer of technical textiles with 40% of production. The following picture shows the global technical textile market: