Textile Composite Material (TCM) | Classification and Application of Textile Composite Materials

Textile Composite Material (TCM):
Two inherently different materials are mixed to form a new material called composite material which is different to both but better in properties. To develop enabling technology for Textile Composite Material (TCM) that can be applied in the textiles and clothing industry. 
Application of textile composite material in aeronautics
Composite materials are replacing day by day the conventional metallic materials due to their light weight, high strength, design flexibility and long life. Especially for aeronautical applications due to their relatively higher strength, more uniform properties and reduced manufacturing cost and a note on thermoplastic and thermo-set resins.

Composites materials are preferred over contemporary metallic materials due to their
  • High strength
  • Light weight
  • Long life
  • Net shape manufacturing
  • Design flexibility
The two constituents of the composites are called matrix and resin.

It is the main constituent of composites materials mainly responsible for its mechanical properties. Its percentage in the composite may be up to 70% by volume.

Adhesive /Resin
Normally it is a synthetic polymer with an objective to bind the matrix elements.

Classification of Composite Materials:
Composites materials can be classified on the basis of type of resin and type of reinforcement as well.
Classification on the Basis of Resin:
On the basis of type of resin used, composite materials can be classified into two categories.
  1. Thermoplastic Composites
  2. Thermo-set Composites
Thermoplastic Composites:
This is type of composite material with thermoplastic resin like polyester, HDPE etc. They are lesser used as high-tech materials due to their higher viscosity which cause problem during their penetration into the reinforcement.

Thermo-set Composites:
In these composites thermo-set polymers like epoxy, unsaturated polyester and vinyl-ester are used as resin. They are most used type of composites materials in automotive, naval, aeronautical and aerospace applications.

Classification on the Basis of Reinforcements:
The reinforcements used during manufacturing may be in form of laminates which are combined to get certain thickness or in the form of thick woven cloth. So on the basis of reinforcement composites can be categorised in two categories
  1. Laminated Composites
  2. 3-D woven Composites
Laminated Composites:
In laminar composites the layers of reinforcement are stacked in a specific pattern to obtain required properties in the resulting composite piece . These layers are called plies or laminates.

Laminates can be composed of reinforcement material which may be
  • Non woven
  • Braided
  • Fiber reinforced
  • Matt
  • 2D-woven
  • Uni-directional fibers or UDs
3D woven composites:
These composites have reinforcement of 3D woven or 2D+ multilayer interlock fabric. These composites have much better through the thickness properties as compared to laminated composites

Application of Textile Composite Material (TCM):

(a) TCM for Protective Clothing and Accessory
TCM is suitable for the making of protective garment and accessory (glove, headwear, footwear, etc.) to afford protection against weather hazards, i.e. extremely cold or hot temperature; and high shocking/impacting, or flame retardant or toxic chemical. The protective material consists of two or more fibre materials of different nature, joined together by adhesion or cohesion to give target functionality and reinforcement. The protective TCM clothing and accessory have target functionality in combination with a good comfort and moisture transportation capacity.

To support the development of TCM for protective clothing and accessory, it should:

(i) Design and develop TCM for protective clothing against weather hazards; and
(ii) Design and develop TCM for protective clothing against high shocking and impacting, or flame retardant or toxic chemical.

(b) TCM for Medical Textile and Engineering Material/Part
TCM is also suitable for making medical textile and engineering material applications. Beside the selection of appropriate fibre/yarn production, the diverse textile processes, such as advanced weaving, braiding, knitting or stitching, allow the production of more or less complex TCM performs for different industrial application. For the medical textile application, the TCM should perform specific functionality, i.e. lightweight, good moisture management, soft, comfort, etc. as well as medical application, i.e. body part retention, artificial prosthesis, etc. For the industrial application, the TCM should perform high demands of extremely lightweight, durable against multi-directional stress, weather-proof, etc.

To support TCM development for medical textile and engineering material/part, it should:

(i) Design and develop TCM for medical application, i.e. broken leg medical textile casting, body part retention, walking support frame, prosthetic limbs, etc.; and

(ii) Design and develop TCM for engineering material/parts, i.e. geotextile, propeller blade including wind turbine blade and shell,, engine containment, insulators, filters, marine vessel structure, etc. 
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Mazharul Islam Kiron is a textile consultant and researcher on online business promotion. He is working with one European textile machinery company as a country agent. He is also a contributor of Wikipedia.

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