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Specialty fabrics set new global standards

Advanced Textiles, Markets | November 1, 2008 | By:

From powering high-speed trains to creating new urban apparel, specialty fabrics are setting new global standards.

High-speed composites

A composite insulating horned-slipper holder was successfully used on the high-speed V150 train, part of France’s TGV rail service. On April 3, 2007, the V150 set a world record, reaching a speed of 574.8 km/hr. The horned-slipper holder on both pantograph rear ends makes contact at an appropriate pressure with the catenary system power supply of TGV trains.

To avoid an electric arc with the catenary system, the device is a nonmetal composite that balances mechanical strain and mass while safeguarding the insulation. The composite must be:

> lightweight, to avoid adjusting effort;

> resistant to reverse bending stress;

> supple, to avoid wear on wires; and

> breakable in case the catenary system goes under the bearing.

A glass fabric and a formulation of epoxy resin 1115, rather than a phenolic resin, was developed by CTMI (Cotton Textiles for Innovative Materials, La Sône, France) for its mechanical properties. The new resin meets the most recent French National Railway’s flame and smoke standards used for testing the material outside and in tunnels.

CTMI is a weaver, knitter, braider and prepreger, specializing in the design and production of materials for advanced technologies.

New ‘multi-risk’ fabric meets safety standards

Bodyguard AS 310 by Gauthier Tissus, Morestel, France, features a blend of 55 percent Protex™ MA, 43 percent cotton and 2 percent DuPont Negastat® carbon fiber. Permanently fire resistant, the fabric complies fully to all recent European safety standards: EN 471 (high visibility), EN 531 and EN 11612 (heat and fire), EN 11611 (welding), EN 61482 (electric arc), EN 1149-5 (static electricity and ATEX) and EN 13034 (liquid chemicals). Bodyguard’s fire-resistant membrane and lining resist the electric arc of the standard EN 61482 Class 2, making it an excellent choice for safety parkas. The fabric has been tested and adopted for use in various fields, including aeronautical construction, oil refineries, and industrial gas, and supports repeated industrial launderings.

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Reflective safety fabrics

3M Scotchlite reflective material 5510 Segmented Home Wash Trim ensures both visibility and maximum comfort for the wearer, and complies with European standard EN 471 for visibility clothing. Design qualities include garment suppleness and heat evacuation to make the clothing more comfortable. Ideal for EN 471 T-shirts, polos, and parkas, the product offers improved retroreflection residual values even after many washes.

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Carbon-fiber caddy: on course

The Mantis HE electric golf caddy has a tube structure made of carbon-fiber-reinforced thermoplastic, constructed by using a bladder inflation molding (BIM). The process consists of inflating a bladder inside the composite tube, which is held in place within a closed mold, offering a shorter production time than a thermosetting solution.

The golf caddy has two 90-watt motors and two 6.5-Ah accumulators housed in the wheel area that provide enough power to play an 18-hole course. The caddy is lightweight, easy to unfold and fold back up to place in a car. Displayed at the JEC 2008 and winner of the JEC Group’s sports innovation award, the caddy was launched in 2005, following two years of development by Schappe Techniques (Charnoz, France), Thermofusion GmbH (Dieburg, Germany) and CarbonFunctions Vertriebs GmbH (Pforzheim, Germany).

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Meeting workwear standards

The Relax line with Dow XLA fiber from Lauffenmühle (Lauchringen, Germany) builds on the popularity and success of stretch fabrics in urban wear. Relax XLA® brings both comfort and performance to the corporate apparel industry, staying crisp and attractive all day. Stretch clothing specially created for technical professions, such as the health care field, not only improves comfort for the wearer but also allows more freedom of movement while maintaining the garment’s shape and resiliency. Clothing with Relax XLA hugs the body like a second skin, avoiding accidental snagging, and also withstands repeated launderings.

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