Glossary of terms

Anti-Fray Coated – a single coat of suitable chemical, typically 10-15gsm, designed to prevent dyed fabric from fraying when cut.

Calendering – an industrial version of “ironing” where fabric is processed through rollers at differing levels of pressure and temperature. This helps to close gaps between yarns to improve air porosity and also improves its ability to be coated or laminated.

Cordura – is the registered name of a high-performance textured Nylon 6,6 product manufactured by Invista, a wholly owned division of Koch Industries, Inc. It is used in a wide range of products from luggage and backpacks to boots, military apparel (such as rucksacks, webbing and ammunition pouches), and performance apparel. It is designed to be long-lasting and resistant to abrasions, tears and scuffs.

Decitex – is a unit of measure for the linear density of textile fibre calculated as the mass in grams per 10,000 metres.

Denier – is a unit of measurement of linear density of textile fibre calculated as the mass in grams per 9,000 metres

Direct Coated – the use of a coating blade to apply chemical in either water or solvent based solutions to a fabric substrate. Depending on the substrate the coating blade can be supported over plate, over roller or over air.

Fluorocarbon/Silicone Proofed (Water Repellency/Spray Rating) – a treatment usually applied to the face side of a coated or laminated fabric, it prevents the base fabric from “wetting out” by causing water to form into droplets on the fabric surface.

Hydrophilic Breathable – from the Greek (hydros) “water” and (philia) “friendship,” refers to a physical property of a molecule that can transiently bond with water. The humidity gradient between the inside of a garment and the outside allows the passage of water vapour through the hydrophilic breathable pu coating or membrane.

Hydrostatic Head – the column of water measured in centimetres or pressure kPa that a treated fabric can withstand before water penetrates through the fabric as a whole. This is a measure of how waterproof a fabric is.

Laminated – the use of a pre-formed membrane comprised of polyurethane or ptfe for example, applied using some form of adhesive to a fabric substrate.

Microporous Breathable – A microporous coating or membrane is one containing pores with diameters so small that they prevent water droplets penetrating from the outside of a garment but are large enough to allow water vapour from the inside of a garment to pass through.

Nylon (Polyamide) – there are two generic forms of nylon which are 6.6 and 6, the primary differences between the two apart from their molecular chemical composition are –

Nylon 6,6

  • Pleats and creases can be heat-set at higher temperatures
  • More compact molecular structure
  • Better weathering properties; better sunlight resistance
  • Higher melting point (256 degrees C)
  • Superior colour fastness
  • Excellent abrasion resistance

Nylon 6

  • More rapid moisture absorption
  • Easy to dye, more readily fades
  • Greater elasticity and elastic recovery
  • Higher impact resistance

Nylon can also be made with different levels of lustre – lustrous, semi-dull or dull.
It is highly durable and in its high tenacity form it is used for seatbelts, military, ballistic cloth and other hard wearing end uses.
Nylon has high elongation, excellent abrasion resistance, is highly resilient, has high resistance to alkali, and melts away from flame instead of burning.

Flat Nylon – yarns are cylindrical in appearance giving a more shiny appearance

Textured Nylon – nylon yarns can be textured to break them up and provide a more natural matt appearance and offer softer handling.

Polyester – Polyester is a category of polymers which contain the ester functional group in their main chain. Although there are many polyesters, the term “polyester” as a specific material most commonly refers to polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Polyester fabrics are claimed to have a “less natural” feel when compared to similarly-woven fabrics made from natural fibers (i.e. cotton in textile uses).

However, polyester fabrics may exhibit other advantages over natural fabrics, such as improved wrinkle resistance and high resistance to acid. As a result, polyester fibers are sometimes spun together with natural fibers to produce a cloth with blended properties.
Similar to nylon, polyester yarns can be flat and textured as well as brushed or peached to provide different handles and appearance.

Polyurethane (PU) – PU, is any polymer consisting of a chain of organic units joined by urethane links. Polyurethane formulations cover an extremely wide range of stiffness, hardness, and densities. They provide long lasting coatings to give fabric substrates a wide variety of finishes e.g. waterproof, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, flame retardent.

PVCPolyvinyl chloride is the third most widely used thermoplastic polymer after polyethylene and polypropylene. It can be made soft and flexible by the addition of plasticizers, the most widely-used being phthalates. In this form, it is used in clothing and upholstery, and to make flexible hoses and inflatable structures amongst other applications.

Silicone – largely inert, man-made compound with a wide variety of forms eg. Silicone elastomer, and end-uses. They are heat-resistant and non-stick, they are commonly used in coated form for patient slide sheets, release fabrics, ducting and hot air balloons.

Tenacity, Medium & High – Tenacity is the measure of strength of a fibre or yarn. It is usually defined as the ultimate (breaking) strength of the fibre (in gram-force units) divided by either the denier or decitex.

Thermoplastic (TPU) – A thermoplastic is a polymer that turns to a liquid when heated and freezes to a very glassy state when cooled sufficiently. Fabrics coated with this form of PU are weldable high frequency or ultra-sonic.