Technical textiles save lives: 4. Geotextiles
Technical textiles make the difference. You will find it in masks, decontamination units, quarantine curtains, triage tents, mattress protectors, medical intervention clothing, temporary storage areas, aprons, in the construction of emergency hospitals, ... Technical textiles protect and save lives, today more than ever.
What is technical textile
Technical textiles are the third pillar of the textile industry, next to fashion textiles and interior textiles. It is a collection of textile products that solves a wide range of social and industrial challenges.
Today, there are more challenges than ever. The Corona Covid-19 virus keeps the world in its grip. We fight with all our might against this evil beast Technical textiles play a crucial role in this. How, what and why is discussed in this series. In this article we highlight geotextiles.
Speed is key
Those who are not in the industry do not use this word. And yet we all deal with it every day: on the road, rail, in dikes, in landfills, in ponds, swimming pools, raised roadsides, in tunnels, footpaths, in roofs, green roofs and green facades of our houses and buildings. For the most part nothing is built or constructed without geotextiles.
During pandemics such as the one we live in now, the importance of geotextiles cannot be greater. For the construction of emergency facilities or field hospitals, the ground must be quickly and efficiently reinforced and / or waterproofed before erecting temporary roads and / or buildings.
This can be done by (literally) rolling out geosynthetics such as non-wovens and foil. In this way, a lot of time is saved by limiting excavation works and traditional foundation materials.
Emergency hospitals such as the one in Wuhan, where the pandemic first victimized, can be built and be operational super fast by using geosynthetics.
What is geotextile and how is it made?
Geotextile is a word that covers many loads. There is also talk of geosynthetics and they come in different variants: as fabrics, as non-woven or needle felt, as a grid, in foils and even in combinations of the foregoing as geo-composite.
They also come in many varieties, made from very diverse raw materials. The geotextiles we make at our production sites in Italy and Belgium are needle felts that can also be thermofixed. They are robust and long lasting. Under the ground, they often come in contact with water, all kinds of building materials, sometimes also chemical and biological agents, so they must be solid and resistant. In turn, they are non-toxic, do not dissolve through, for example, contact with groundwater and are therefore not polluting.
We use strong fibers to produce needle felt for geotextiles. These can be synthetic fibers such as PP, PES, PA, Aramid, but also biodegradable such as PLA. These fibers go into bales in the machine in which needles with hooks pull the fibers over and under each other so that they form a uniform whole. You can view the production process of needle felt on our YouTube channel, where you can find many more production processes of technical textiles.
We also make the strong fibers ourselves. We buy PP chips and extrude them into staple fibers with a very high tensile strength.