Specialty Fibers, Fabrics, and Textiles Information

Specialty Fibers, Fabrics, and Textiles InformationDescription


Specialty fibers, fabrics and textiles are based upon a unique composition, weave, or technology, and are designed for specialized applications.




Specialty fibers, specialty fabrics and specialty textiles are used in a variety of industries and applications, including:


  • Aerospace
  • Apparel or clothing
  • Architecture and construction
  • Automotive and transportation
  • Chemical processing
  • Electrical
  • Electronic
  • Filtration
  • Marine
  • Medical
  • Electrostatic discharge (ESD) control
  • Shielding from electromagnetic interference (EMI)
  • Shielding from radio frequency interference (RFI) 





Specialty fibers are bulk, chopped fibers or thin, continuous filaments that are supplied as any of the following:


  • Monofilaments
  • Multi-filaments
  • Threads
  • Strands 

FabricsSpecialty Fibers, Fabrics, and Textiles Information


Specialty fabrics include:


  • Sleeves and wraps - Flexible, fibrous refractory fabrics for insulating pipes, tubes, ducts and other process components.
  • Knitted products - Consist of continuous fibers that are processed into a knitted structure with either two or three dimensions.
  • Braided structures - Used for tubular composite structures, thermal insulation, and in other applications.
  • Blankets or batts - Made of thick layers of fabric sheets. 



Specialty textiles include a variety of woven and non-woven products. Non-woven materials can be shaped into:


  • Mats of randomly-oriented fibers
  • Felt
  • Needlepunched cloth
  • Spun bound structures
  • Meltblown structures 

Wet-laid and air-laid non-wovens are made from short-cut fibers and used to create highly uniform structures.


Carded and needlepunched non-wovens offer very high loft (low density) at very low cost.


Other types of specialty fibers, fabrics, and textiles include:


  • Roving
  • Yarn
  • Rope
  • Cordage
  • Webbing
  • Ribbons
  • Strapping
  • Tape 



Specialty fibers, fabrics and textiles are made of many different natural and synthetic materials.




Natural specialty fibers are often made from plants such as


  • Cotton
  • Hemp
  • Jute
  • Fax
  • Linen
  • Leather
  • Silk
  • Wool 

SyntheticSpecialty Fibers, Fabrics, and Textiles Information


Synthetic specialty fabrics contain petroleum-based polymers and fibers.


Mineral wool is a category of industrial fabrics that includes slag wool, rock wool, and glass wool.


E-glass is a relatively inexpensive glass fiber that combines strength with high electrical resistivity.


S-glass®, a registered trademark of Owens Corning, is stronger than E-glass and has better properties at elevated temperatures.


Ceramic specialty textiles are made from alumina or zirconia fibers and are designed for high-temperature applications. Boron, quartz, silica, and silicon carbide (SiC) products are also available.


Metallic fibers have a shiny surface, high melting point, high hardness, and high thermal and electrical conductivity.


Material type choices for specialty fibers, fabrics and textiles also include:


  • Acetate and triacetate
  • Acrylic and modacrylic
  • Aramid and polyimide
  • Elastomeric
  • Fluropolymer
  • Nylon and polyamide
  • Olefin and polyolefin
  • Polybenzimidazole (PBI)
  • Poly-p-phenylenebenzobisoxazole (PBO)
  • Polypropylene
  • Polyphenylene sulfide (PPS)
  • Rayon
  • Styrene acrylonitrile (SAN)
  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) 



Selecting specialty fibers, fabrics and textiles requires an analysis of dimensions, properties, structural features, and applications.




  • Overall thickness
  • Overall width
  • Overall weight
  • Fabric weight 



  • Use temperature
  • Breaking strength or maximum load
  • Thermal conductivity
  • Electrical resistivity 

Structural Features


  • Chemical or fuel resistant
  • Electrically conductive
  • Electrically insulating
  • Flame retardant
  • Hydrophilic
  • Absorbent
  • Suitable for sound-proofing
  • Hydrophobic
  • Waterproof
  • Fireproof
  • Thermally insulating
  • Resistance to ultraviolet (UV) light or sunlight 



A-A-55127 - Batting, synthetic fibers, polyester (unquilted and quilted) 

A-A-50128 - Cloth, interlining, nonwoven

AATCC 111 - Weather resistance of textiles: Exposure to daylight and weather




Image Credits:

Mid-Mountain Materials, Inc. |  Technical Glass Products, Inc. - OH | FuelCellsEtc



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