|As any restaurant or store owner knows,
the upholstery in high-traffic retail and culinary locations
needs to be extremely durable. From spills in restaurants
to the general wear and tear of upholstery in all high traffic
retail areas, if extremely delicate or high-maintenance fabrics
are used, there will be a tremendous amount of upkeep involved
in keeping the space looking appropriately manicured.
Of course, because the focus in a retail location or in a
restaurant is on getting a client or customer to spend money,
appearance is tied directly to their success. Ripped or stained
fabrics will have a negative impact on an individual’s
perception of a business, and therefore will result in a decrease
Luckily, the textile industry has long been focused on creating
new materials that are both pleasing to the eye and extremely
durable. These high-tech textiles, as they are called, are
engineered to be resistant to odor, heat, wrinkle, water,
and UV rays. They are accomplished through a combination of
newly created fibers, innovative weaving techniques, and new
What specific needs do high tech textiles address? As discussed,
the number one thing that high tech textiles are engineered
to handle a is great deal of traffic. Because so many people
use it in short periods of time, commercial public seating
requires upholstery that has increased abrasion resistance.
In this area, it’s particularly important that fabrics
be rip resistant while also being stain resistant. But how
is this achieved?
Nanotechnology. Though this buzzword is thrown around a lot,
many people don’t actually know what it means. A nanometer
is measurement that refers to one-billionth of a meter. A
nanometer is so small that it’s one hundred thousand
times smaller than a follicle of hair. Nanotechnology is technology
that works to manipulate the molecular structure of a substance
on the nanometer level. The use of nanotechnology in fabric
is what has lead to breakthroughs in increasing abrasion resistance,
stain resistance, and tear resistance in textiles. Specifically,
nanotechnology is used to create nanoparticle-sized polymers
of fluorocarbon and silicone, which are attached to fibers
during manufacturing. This is more effective than a chemical
coating treatment because it is actually embedded in the structure
of a fabric. However, advances in stain resistant finishes
created with nanotechnology have also increased the durability
of fabrics as of late.
Also regarding fibers is the practice of using microfibers
and ultrafine fibers. Microfibers are synthetic fibers that
are manufactured to be one hundred times thinner than a strand
of human hair. Microfibers can be made of polyamide, nylon,
acrylic, rayon, and polyester. Ultrafine fibers, meanwhile,
are even ten times finer than microfibers. The benefit to
ultrafine fibers and microfibers is that when they are woven
into the structure of a fabric, they become compact structures.
This quality results in a fabric that is waterproof or water-repellant
while also being stain resistant.
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