There are many, many things customers want nonwovens to do and there are a huge variety of applications where nonwovens are useful. Nonwoven fabrics are used in cars, airplanes, homes, manufacturing facilities, schools, indoors, and outdoors. Some are used in wet, cold environments or dry, hot environments. Some are used in changing environments. Whatever the end use of the nonwoven fabric, however, there are specific additives you may want to consider for your nonwoven fabric.
- Flame retardant. If you need flame retardant textiles, you may need to use phosphorus and/or nitrogen chemistry. These chemistries are often used specifically on manmade nonwoven textiles like nylon and polypropylene. Mineral flame retardants are typically not an option for textiles and nonwovens given the large amount of additive required. Halogenated compounds, long-time favorite flame retardant additives, are currently not used nearly as much due to regulatory and environmental considerations.
- Antimicrobial. Microbe growth on fabrics often leads to odors, discoloring and even loss of textile properties. Healthcare, medical, apparel and even home textile applications are especially interested in protecting against microbe growth on fabrics. Silver-based antimicrobials are generally effective against a wide variety of microbes and still effective after multiple washes.
- Weathering. Outdoor nonwoven textiles like commercial carpets, awnings or outdoor fabrics and geotextiles are subjected to a variety of outdoor conditions that can degrade materials if not treated properly. UV radiation has a huge impact on the overall service life of outdoor fabrics. Your nonwoven manufacturer can treat the fabrics with UV absorbers or hindered amine light stabilizers to reduce the harmful effects of UV radiation.
- Antistatic. Carpets, cleanroom fabrics and medical textiles often need antistatic properties. Two types of antistatic agents are typically used, depending on the overall function of the end-use project: migrating and permanent antistats. Short term applications will typically use the migrating while applications such as carpets may demand the benefits of the permanent antistatic agents.
Whatever your current needs are for your end use product, you can always talk with your nonwoven manufacturer about specific products, additives and treatments they have available to meet the specifications you require.