Home Textile guide Textile functionalities


A technical textile being chosen for its performance characteristics and not its aesthetic aspect, it must have a certain number of functionalities depending on its final application.

These functionalities can come from different stages, so none should be overlooked.

A fiber can, in an intrinsic way, have interesting characteristics such as being non-flammable, antibacterial or promoting the healing of wounds.

Weaving or knitting can increase resistance or provide anti-cutting properties.

Finishing is also a very common technique in technical textiles to bring new functionalities to a textile product.

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Acoustic insulation

The purpose of acoustic insulation is to prevent or limit the propagation of noise.

The principle of this insulation is to absorb the vibrations emitted by the sound source. To dissipate sound waves, textured textiles are the most effective. We find velvet, knit mainly for wall insulation. The materials are usually synthetic such as polyester, polyurethane or fiberglass. Acoustic insulation is mainly intended for the building industry.


The anti-abrasion property provides increased resistance in case of intense or prolonged friction.

It has the characteristics of being light, wear resistant, tear resistant and tensile resistant, which allows for an increased life span. This feature is widely used for workwear, to further protect the user, but also for sports equipment (motorcycle equipment for example) or for outdoor equipment such as tents or backpacks.


The anti-cut allows to protect the user or the goods in case of use of blunt objects like blade or scissors.

These protect in case of a lateral contact with the blade. Aramid is generally used to provide this property (Kevlar, Kermel, Nomex). This filament is one of the most resistant, smooth and slippery, the yarns will follow the shape of the blade without breaking and thus protect the user. This property is very useful in the uses of individual protection, in particular for the manufacture of protective gloves for the professions using blades.


The anti-shock allows to bring a shock absorption or a dissipation of these.

Its purpose is to protect the user or the object on which it is applied. It is generally provided by laminating a polyurethane foam with other textiles. The aim is to absorb the shock and dissipate it over a wider area to limit the potential damage caused by the impact. This functionality is found in many fields such as sports, medical or protective equipment.


The anti-stain allows to bring a resistance to the textile in case of projection of dirty substances.

This one will not penetrate in fibers and thus will not leave marks on the material. To achieve this, the product must be made hydrophobic and oleophobic (oil repellent). A surface treatment is carried out with a fluorinated primer or a plasma treatment.


Anti-vandalism combines resistance to puncture, laceration and fireproofing.

It is used in busy places such as public transport. For this application, several materials are laminated together: a metal mesh to provide puncture and laceration resistance, a polyurethane foam for comfort and a flame retardant fabric to limit the spread of flames in case of fire.


The antibacterial property fights against bacteria, responsible for many diseases.

There are two kinds of antibacterial, the bactericides which kill bacteria and the bacteriostatic which inhibits the multiplication of bacteria. This property prevents the natural degradation of the material, odors and reduces the risk of infections. Present intrinsically in the fiber or added by microcapsules, applied by simple deposit, by finishing (scarfing, grafting, coating, bath exhaustion) or in charges mixed with synthetic granules during spinning, it is widely used in the medical field, in clothing, sports, household linen or furnishing.


The antifungal property prevents the formation of fungi or yeasts commonly called molds.

It can be present intrinsically, applied by various primers or as fillers during the spinning stage. Grafting is the most stable and durable technology. This functionality is found in the medical field to maintain a good level of hygiene, limit infections and protect patients, but also in clothing, household linen or furniture to limit allergic reactions.


The antimicrobial has a broader action by fighting against bacteria, fungi (mycosis), viruses and parasites.

This feature has the characteristics of antibacterial with the addition of Antivirus and antifungal properties.


The antistatic property allows to limit or prevent the accumulation of electrostatic charges (phenomenon appearing when insulating materials come into contact).

It can be used for comfort or to protect users in sectors like petrochemicals or aeronautics to avoid the risk of explosions. This functionality is achieved by adding an antistatic yarn (carbon, stainless steel) forming a grid within the textile. The antistatic property is also sought by the industrialists to facilitate the stages of productions and to protect the machines.


AntiUV property allows to reflect the UV rays and thus to protect the user from its aggression.

In case of a technical application, it also prevents eh product from degrading and losing tis mechanical characteristics in case of exposure to ultraviolet rays. The anti-UV functionality can be provided by the fiber itself, synthetic fibers are naturally anti-UV, the structure of the textile, the tighter the knit the more UV is filtered, or the addition of UV absorbers by finishing.


The antivirus neutralizes the viruses responsible for many diseases in order to limit the spead.

The property can be intrinsic to the fiber, applied by priming with antiviral molecules or by laminating antiviral film on the surface. This technology is mainly used in the medical field or in places frequented by the public.

Breaking resistance

The tensile strength of a textile lies in its ability to withstand a force with the least possible deformation as a result (yield point) and/or its ability to support heavy loads before breaking (breaking strength).

Naturally long fibers such as linen or hemp have very good tensile strength. Synthetic materials also have good properties, they are dimensionally stable, especially aramids, carbon and glass fiber. This characteristic is very much in demand in the field of sports, where textiles are very much in use, but also in the automotive industry, sports equipment, construction, composites and PPE.


The textile breathability of a textile is defined by its exchanges with the outside.

It allows the evacuation of gases, including perspiration, in order to provide comfort to the user. A breathable textile will limit the humidity inside a space. If it is a garment, a good breathability will allow to protect the body in case of rapid temperature change due to efforts and to keep the body dry. Many materials have this characteristic such as natural animal fibers, artificial cellulosic materials, but also synthetic materials with a membrane or treated for this purpose.


The conductive property allows the transmission of current or information through a conductive wire (metal).

Used in smart-textiles, the textile serves as a flexible support directly in contact with the subject in order to collect data. Widely used in the field of sports to collect performance and physiological data (heart rate, blood pressure, etc.) as well as in heated clothing. These technologies are also used in the medical field to monitor patient health, in aeronautics, space, etc.

Electrical insulation

Electric insulation (or dielectric material) prevents the exchange of energy between two systems so that no current can flow.

Materials often used for personal protection to avoid electrical shocks as well as to sheath electric cables. The materials used must have low electrical conductivity, such as fiberglass, plastics, rubber or ceramic fiber. This property is used for personal protection or for the building industry.


Filtration is the ability to allow the passage of air or liquid flows, but also to retain possible components.

Filtration can be applied at different scales depending on the use. Filtration can be applied at different scales depending on the end use and the level of filtration desired. For a swimming pool filter, for example, knitted fabric is the most suitable technology because it is resistant, lets the water pass through while retaining plant and other elements. For air filtration, nonwovens are the most common. They have a very high porosity rate (percentage of air, from 95 to 99%), which allows a good air circulation while filtering even small particles. This technology is used in particular in the manufacture of surgical masks but also in industry, construction, the automobile industry, etc.


The fire retardant property is intrinsic to the fiber or applied by the addition of a substance. It allows the material to delay its combustion.

A non-flammable material has the ability not to ignite. This characteristic is intrinsic to the fiber or is brought by a chemical finishing, it is governed by strict standards. These treatments are widely used in busy places such as public transport, theaters or for personal protective equipment such as firefighters uniforms for example.


Hydrophilicity is the ability of a material to absorb aqueous substances.

This feature is one of the most sought after in many areas but also the most feared depending on the application. Natural animal and vegetable materials are all hydrophilic, as are artificial fibers for the most part. In clothing, this property is a guarantee of comfort for the user, as well as in the field of sports. The latter is more demanding and requires chemical modifications. Indeed, natural materials are not the most suitable for sports applications which require a transpiration evacuation, a quick drying, an increased resistance and an easy cleaning. The material will then be chemically primed to give it hydrophilic properties. For other applications such as construction or automotive, we seek to reduce the absorption capacity of the fibers.


The hypoallergenic property means that produces less allergen.

In the textile case, it generally defines the use of natural materials, little treated in their transformations.

Puncture resistant

Puncture resistance protects the user or the object in case of a blunt object passing through, such as the impact of a knife.

To provide this functionality, aramid is used for its resistance properties, with a very tight weave or knitting to avoid the passage of the object. It is necessary to cumulate several thicknesses to achieve a high enough resistance and thus to respect the standard in force. It is also possible to laminate a metal grid with other materials, for applications other than protective equipment.

Resistance to chemical agents

Chemical resistance is defined as the stability of a textile when subjected to chemicals.

This property is intrinsic to the fiber or is added by chemical modifications. The mechanical properties of resistant textiles will not be modified by the effect of chemicals. Used to protect the user who uses hazardous substances or equipment and surfaces that may come into contact with chemicals.

Thermal insulation

Thermal insulation is defined as a textile barrier that limits or prevents heat transfer between a warm and a cold environment.

A good  insulator is a material with a low thermal conductivity. The most efficient insulators are the most porous (presence of air) because air is the most efficient insulator. For this reason, nonwovens are widely used with an air content of 95 to 99%. Natural fibers are interesting thermal insulators with vegetable fibers and animal fibers, fiberglass is also widely used. Thermal insulation is a feature used in clothing, sports, construction, automotive, space, etc..


Thermoregulation is the process of maintaining a certain temperature.

This phenomenon is possible by the production and loss of thermal energy. Naturally, many materials have this characteristic, such as fibers of animal origin. Synthetic materials can also be thermoregulating thanks to chemical modifications. The textiles with change of phase, for example, are very technical, in particular used by NASA. The textile absorbs heat when the body produces too much, then releases it when the temperature drops. Thermoregulation is essential in many fields such as clothing, sports, but also personal protection and insulation.

Water repellent

Water repellency defines the fact that when liquid drops come in contact with the surface, they will stay on the surface.

This does not mean that the textile is waterproof, but that the surface tension is low, so the drop does not spread. For example, wool has a very high absorption rate, but is water repellent due to the scale structure of its fibers. This property can be intrinsic to the fiber or be brought by a surface treatment, either by its physical modification or by the addition of hydrophobic molecules.


The waterproofing allows to bring waterproofness to a surface.

There are two main techniques, coating and membrane laminating. Coating consists in spreading a polymer paste on one of the fabric’s surfaces to prevent water from penetrating. The membrane will be laminated on the internal surface or between two layers. It prevents water infiltration while allowing water vapor and perspiration to escape. Waterproof surfaces are generally made of fluorine. Plasma treatment can be an alternative solution to fluorine.