Ubiquitous, for good reason

July 9th, 2018 / By: / My Take

I’m going to guess that you use some kind of textile composite every single day—maybe many times a day. (Here’s a hint: if you’re caring for a baby or small child, it’s even more likely.) We are dependent upon textiles being a part of the material makeup of flexible composites (obviously) and rigid composites (not as obvious), as well.

But how often do we give applications with composites even a passing thought? I doubt you routinely think about this (unless this is part of what you do in your business). We just don’t pay attention, because they’re pretty much ubiquitous. From materials in our cars to disposable wipes and diapers, composites have fiber-based materials as essential ingredients.

Maybe because various kinds of composite materials are so common, we don’t pay them their due, but we’re going to this month with two features: one by Dr. Seshadri Ramkumar, “The world of composites,” and later in the month, another by researchers at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

The composites market is a relatively young one, as fiber-based products go, but it’s now demonstrating extraordinary growth. This trend is projected to continue, as the industry has responded to interest in creating more environmentally friendly alternatives to earlier or more typical materials in composites. Dr. Ramkumar’s feature discusses this interesting development.

A few years ago, the chair of our IFAI Board of Directors told me, “All composites have textiles in them.” On the face of it, it was an easy statement to understand. But composites can be enormously varied and complex, engineered for sophisticated applications or something as basic—but necessary—as a baby diaper. We’ll never get close to all the “layers” worth discussing in these materials with this month’s features, but we hope to interest you in paying closer attention to this significant textiles market segment.

 

Janet Preus is senior editor of Advanced Textiles Source. She can be reached at jlpreus@ifai.com.