When we think of “fabrics” we traditionally think of soft, flexible cloth – from cotton to denim to wool. But there are actually two very distinct classes of fabrics: woven and non-woven. What’s the difference and what are each used for?
The Difference Between Woven and Non-Woven
The process of weaving fibers together to form a cohesive material has been around for millennia. From basket weaving to loom-weaving, the process of weaving is culturally ambivalent. In woven fabrics, threads or yarns are placed perpendicular to one another, then attached together through a pattern called “warp” and “weft.” This creates fabric.
Some fabrics, though, aren’t “woven” at all. They contain no interwoven strands but they do have an organized internal structure. These fabrics are made by placing fibers together, then using heat, chemicals, or pressure to combine them into a cohesive fabric-like material. Felt is a very common example of non-woven fabric. It’s made by agitating fibers in a solution until they interlock into a dense textile.
What are Different Fabrics Used For?
Generally, woven fabrics are stronger and more structurally sound than non-woven fabrics. It’s why they’re used to make many of the items we wear on our skin: the cotton of a t-shirt, the silk of a dress, or the wool of a sock.
Non-woven fabrics do possess many characteristics that make them suitable for a wide variety of applications. When reinforced, they actually offer superior strength and stability; fiberglass is an excellent example of this technology. Glass fibers, reinforced by polyurethane or other resins, create a durable substrate which is used in everything from construction to tapes.
In addition to their reinforceable nature, non-wovens have the ability to repel liquid, be flame retardant, increase impact resistance and even provide thermal insulating properties. Non-woven fabric technology is used in fields ranging from hygiene to geotextiles to cleaning supplies.
B&W Fiberglass is a resource for non-woven applications. Specializing in glass fibers, fiberglass yarn, and other reinforceable textiles, B&W has a long history of innovation in the non-woven space.
For help with your upcoming project or to talk through your options in the textile industry, give our team a call today.