By: Prof. (Dr.) M. D. Teli
Among the diverse field of application of Technical
Textiles, which is poised for tremendous growth in fast developing economies
like that of India and China, non implantable healthcare and hygiene products
are gaining significant importance because of specificity of their end uses.
Protective textiles offer protection from hazardous chemicals, heat, extreme
cold, radiation and have special application potential in today's
technologically advanced world. In addition to this, advent of nanotechnology
has opened innumerable avenues giving rise to high performance textiles and
apparels. This paper discusses overall status of this field and its scope for
growth in near future.
The demography of India has been totally shifted towards
young population and the purchasing potential of this young population has been
increasing. For this reason most of the developing countries are looking at India as a global market. India and China constitute over 40% population of the globe and
application of technical textiles in this region will increase with a very high
rate. The developed countries are much ahead of India with respect to
manufacture and consumption of Technical Textile. They are now finding a great
potential to exploit the Asian market and hence, as per the industrial
analysis, the field of technical textiles is considered to be quite promising
for the growth. Hence, those involved in textile business dealing with apparels
and also thinking of diversification or adding new line to their business
should look at this segment of Technical Textile with a great promise.
The experience and the background of production as well as
supply of conventional textiles as a whole will enable them to triumph in the
segment of Technical Textile. It does not however mean that the new comers in
this business cannot succeed.
As far as developed countries such as US & Japan are concerned, more than 35% of the textile industrial production is in terms of
Technical Textile. For China it is over 19% and in India it is just 5% and thus
there is a very high growth prospect in Asia creating entirely a new market.
Considering the fast growing (8%) economy of India and the significant size of
over 1 billion population, the presence of raw material, and well trained
manpower, the technical textile field is surely going to develop at a
significant rate and so also its various segments such as Medical and Health
Care Textiles, Functional Textiles, Protective Textiles, etc.
The application of textile in the medical field requires a
number of properties for the fibre, depending upon where exactly this material
is used. The important aspects include non toxic nature of the material,
ability to sterilize and to conform to the requirements of the mechanical
properties as well as the bio-compatibility etc. All these properties are
important since the material is expected to be free from contamination with
bacteria and it is not supposed to be causing temperature rise of the person
or chronic tissue inflammation or allergic reactions. Hence, it should be
non-toxic. The bio compatibility is also equally important property.
Depending upon the end use application, the proper
selection of the fibre could be made.
In case of Protective health care textiles and apparels,
the main purpose is to protect the health care professionals from getting
contaminated by blood and other infectious material while dealing with the
patients. Many a times the surgeons, nurses as well as the attendants in the
operation theatre or emergency rooms are expected to wear the health care
textiles and apparels so that, they will get required protection. The products
under this include operating and emergency room textiles, breathable membranes,
caps for surgeon and nurses, masks, footwear's, coats etc. The need for
protecting the medical personnel is ever growing and thus increasingly
effective health care garments and various barrier products are required to be
The biological protective garments are defined by
occupational safety and health administrative (OSHA) as follows: "Personnel
protective equipment will be considered appropriate only if it does not permit
blood or other potentially infectious materials to pass through to or reach the
employees work clothes, street clothes, undergarments, skin, eyes, mouth or
other mucous membranes under the normal conditions 01 use and for the
duration of time which the protective equipment will be used.'
The surgical drapes are used in the operation theatre to
cover patients or cover clothes. Many times, a nonwoven type is used having the
backing material on one or both the sides of the film. While the film is
permeable to bacteria, non woven backing is highly absorbent to both body
perspiration and secretions from the wound. Surgical masks are made of 3
layers. Middle layer of extra glass fibre or synthetic micro fibre is covered
on both sides by acrylic. The performance requirement for surgical face mask
is high bacteria filtration capacity, high air permeability, light weight and
non allergic nature. The surgical caps are made of non woven cellulosic fibres
using spunlaid process or parallel process and now-a-days hydroentaglement is
gaining popularity in producing disposable products and garments to be used in
operation room. The properties for the surgical drapes include stiffness barrier
performance for gowns as stiffness may affect the perspiration and movement.
There should not be any linting which otherwise may carry particles to the wounds.