Fibrous structures for protective clothing
In recent years, the textile and clothing industries have made great efforts to improve the results in terms of competitiveness and thus to meet the increasing demands of consumers in relation to the products purchased. Consumers are increasingly looking for protective clothing called functional, that is, with added functions, with higher quality and, consequently, with greater added value.
The development of fibrous structures plays an important role with regard to more technical areas such as protective clothing. The market for personal protective clothing is highly demanding in terms of meeting a variety of regulatory requirements associated with the need to protect against multiple risks, capable of threatening the safety and health of users. In the forestry area, for example, protective clothing is extremely important, due to the frequent use of the chainsaw, which is responsible for 1 in 12 accidents in the forestry area. Clothing must be cut resistant, that is, it must be able to lock any cutting machine in operation so quickly that it can protect the user. In addition, it is important that clothing is comfortable and does not hamper work tasks, preventing it from being caught on a piece of wood while allowing freedom of movement.
The International Fibrenamics Platform at the University of Minho, with the objective of developing an innovative multilayer structure to protect the cut caused by a manual chainsaw, created advanced fibrous structures using weft mesh technology. The multifunctional structure includes three layers that provide: i) comfort through thermoregulation, moisture management and breathability (layer close to the body); ii) protection against cutting through the use of mesh structures with auxetic behavior in combination with fibrous materials of high rigidity (intermediate layer) and iii) protection against the action of the chainsaw via bags containing loose fibers which, when in contact with the chainsaw chain, they stop it immediately by blocking the fibers released by the bags (outer layer).