Some textiles are manufactured for specific purposes and are called technical textiles. They are utilized because of their special properties and technical performance. These textiles are mainly used in fields like military, marine, industrial, medical, aerospace etc. The defense industry is largely dependent on these smart textiles for their various needs. Technical textiles are of great importance for the military.
The fabrics are custom made to protect the soldiers against extreme climatic conditions, sudden motions of the body and destructive nuclear or chemical reactions. Moreover, the usefulness of these technical textiles does not end here. The importance of these textiles has been widely recognized for boosting the performance of the fighters and saving their lives in the war.
There has been a substantial development and growth in this sector after the Second World War. Today, the advancement in the fabric technology has resulted into remarkable changes in the uniforms of the soldiers. The military uniform not only serves the purpose of protecting but has become an intrinsic part of their fighting kit.
Other than the uniforms and equipments used in defense, textiles are also used to manufacture parachutes, ropes, tents and safety harness. All these textiles put together are called 'Military textiles'. The new navy dress keeps the uniform white, wrinkle free and release soil. Besides, the marine dress trousers are made from fabrics that have microdenier fiber. It repels stains and the does not wrinkle even after prolonged use.
Nanotechnology is being used to manufacture uniforms in the defense industry. Using this technology such camouflage materials can be made that can transform the design and color according to the changes in the environment. Chameleonic camouflage has been developed that makes a soldier exactly resemble like the area where he is standing.
These textiles can also conceal the visibility of a person even in ultra violet and infra red rays from a particular distance. In addition, new technology fibers are developed using nanotechnology which can arouse the muscle power, which will give the soldier more strength in doing tough jobs. The zero porosity parachute fabric which has been introduced has an amazing capacity to perform with great efficiency and safety.
Such improvements have initiated further research so as to develop an ultimate uniform for the soldiers in the war. There are various tasks that military uniforms need to perform compared to the normal garments. The latest military uniforms are light weight, moisture absorbing, quick drying, stain resistant, and controls odor using the silver antimicrobial technology in the fabrics.
A fighter carries more than 10 batteries to run different types of equipments. Hence, they need reliable electric power which is easy to carry. Such materials need to be developed that can convert sunlight or artificial light into electrical energy. Garments using e- textiles have been introduced that would be just like skin and have the ability to find out the composition of the soldier's body.
Flame-resistant fabric is one of the highly developed military clothing. It protects the life of soldiers while fighting in dangerous situations. Specially designed flame resistant flight uniforms have been developed for pilots with high-tech fabric called Nomex. This fabric is not only flame resistant but is light, comfortable to wear even in aerial condition where the air pressure is very high. Boots are an important piece of device for the fighters. Therefore boots are created which can protect the feet in the war. Fabrics used to manufacture these boots are flame resistant and give thermal protection.
The US military requires wool in large quantities for their uniforms. This is because wool has a self extinguishing quality. Secondly, when burnt, wool will dispel off quickly whereas synthetic fiber will stick to the skin. Thirdly, wool allows the fabric to breathe better than the synthetic ones. Moreover, synthetic fibres will not work against situations like fire or a blast; wool on the other hand will reduce the injuries caused by clothing.
Due to all these reasons wool is preferred than the synthetic fibers and considered best for the military uniform. The researchers have come up with new technology that will decrease its itching quality and make it more comfortable and wearable. With continuous research and development, the wool uniforms will become more fire resistant and comfortable in the future.
Furthermore, cold weather wind jacket is introduced. This jacket protects from wind and sand and also controls moisture. The jacket is airy and performs excellently when used along with the army uniforms. Water-resistant jackets and trousers have been developed which repels water, are light and comfortable. Also, jackets and trousers for extreme cold weather have been invented for defense people.
They are worn as an outer protective garment that will protect even at freezing temperature. The fabric made with Goretex offers water and wind protection. In modern times the top priority of the military is to provide chemical and biological protective clothing. Therefore, highly advanced fabric has been developed that can obstruct threats caused by toxic agents, lubricants, petroleum and chemicals.
In addition, tents are manufactured that can give protection in extreme cold weather. The tent is stitched with a rubberized sheet at the base level to protect against dampness. It has olive green color on one side and white on the other side. Hence, it serves the purpose of camouflaging in different situations.
Nylon corduar material has double durability compared to the normal nylon fabric and is best in making military bags, bullet proof vests, footwear, shoes and backpack. Furthermore, researches are carried out in Britain to produce uniforms made from electrical conductive yarn. This can get rid of multiple batteries and cables in the uniform used to power different equipments.
Lastly, latest fabric known as 'Quantum Stealth' material has being developed that completely conceals a person by bending the light waves around the person. It can make the soldier completely invisible and even remove his shadow. Also, tests and trials are being conducted to develop fabric keyboard with a handy computer which will be incorporated in the uniform.
The defense personnel are exposed to environmental, physical and unexpected threats on the battlefield. Therefore, the textiles used must strictly comply with their requirements. Today's advanced clothing system is able to endure physical, environmental, physiological and battlefield stress.