“Water resistant” and “waterproof” both refer to penetration of liquid water. Manufactured waterproof fabrics have been around for over a hundred years. They are either treated or are inherently resistant to water penetration and wetting. In Victorian times, Scottish inventor Charles Macintosh sandwiched rubber between cloth to make an impermeable fabric that was waterproof but not breathable. Raincoats were made from this material and became known as ‘macs’. However, the early designs smelled quite bad and melted in hot weather.
Next time you go to a theatre or concert, just imagine what might happen if a fire broke out on stage. In fact in any public place such as a shop, school, library, restaurant, hotel, council building or anywhere people gather together. Even in your own home there are risks of a fire breaking out, but don’t be too alarmed, there are many ways of minimising the damage and preventing flames and smoke from spreading. The obvious ones come to mind, such as fire doors and extinguishers etc, but perhaps less evidently, you can ensure that the fabrics and materials used are fire-retardant too.
When you find out more about smart fabrics, they may start to sound like something out of a sci-fi movie. As technology develops we will be able to use smart fabrics sooner than you might think. Although the academics who have pioneered it claim that they won’t be available commercially for at least twenty years yet the technology behind smart fabrics could be developed tomorrow if a company thinks there is a market for it.
Woven fabrics are composed of fibers that are hung on a loom and then interlaced with other fibers, both vertically (known as the warp) and horizontally (known as the weft), to form a textile. A helpful mnemonic device to remember the different directions is, “Weft goes right and left.” Continue reading “Fabric Basics: Woven Fabrics”