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The physical properties of technical textiles derive as much from their manufacturing process as they do from the components used in their production.
Textile properties like tensile strength, dimensional stability, elongation and tear resistance are completely dependant upon the quality and structure of the basecloth fabric, whereas fire retardancy, UV resistance, colour fastness and other characteristics arise from the coating and varnishes applied to the basecloth.
The importance of these features was recognised by Serge Ferrari who pioneered and patented the Précontraint® method of manufacturing over 25 years ago. Today Ferrari® S.A. are still producing the most advanced PVC/PES composite textiles in the world.
During the Précontraint® process Ferrari® textiles are tensioned in both the warp and weft directions, this removes any inconsistencies and slack within the base-fabric and ‘flattens’ out the weft yarns.
The pressure is carefully controlled and maintained during the entire coating and curing processes so the textile remains in this prestressed state in its finished form.
By removing variables from the production process, Précontraint® textiles have more consistent and repeatable characteristics like superb dynamic stability, lower elongation ratios, smoother surface textures and thicker surface coatings.
Thicker Surface Coatings
Smoother surface textures result when the warp and weft yarns are forced to sit flatter during the Précontraint coating and curing stages of production. More coating material can then be applied over the yarn crests whilst managing the final fabric weight and thickness.
This final coat then cures to a smoother flatter finish to which a final surface treatment is applied.
The ability to increase the coating thickness over the base yarns imparts other significant benefits to Précontraint textiles. These include higher abrasion resistance, increased U.V. resistance, more consistent fire retardancy properties, and better colour fastness.
The retardancy properties of composite textiles are derived from the quality and concentration of special additives mixed within the paste used to coat the base cloth during the production process. The desired level of retardency can then be engineered by adjusting these elements.
Innova and Ferrari® are experienced in engineering specific fire retardancy outcomes to meet International fire standards for particular projects. We are happy to discuss this service should you require a variation to meet a certain fire standard.Back to Top
The U.V. resistance and colour fastness of a composite textile are also contingent upon the quality and quantity of additives and pigments within the coating paste. The thicker surface coating of a Précontraint® textile ensures that more of these additives are present and a far higher level of protection to the base yarn is achieved.
This UV resistance when combined with the increased colour pigments is critical to the long term aesthetic appearance of the textile. Whilst all colours will fade with prolonged UV exposure the presence of additional pigmentation slows the ‘bleaching’ process as this unavoidable colour change takes place.
Innova and Ferrari® materials are manufactured to ensure that the pigments are more evenly distributed throughout the coating paste to deliver a more consistent colour tone and a more even change of colour when fading is experienced.
Ferrari® materials with their thicker coating provide greater protection to the base fabric yarns from which composite textiles gain their tensile strength properties.
Protection of this base cloth from UV damage is critical to its longevity. Polyester yarn is highly susceptible to damage from UV radiation and has no intrinsic UV resistance. Therefore the additional coating thickness protects the polyester when the fabric is handled or abraded when in application.
Textile lifespan is also increased by their resistance to the accumulation of dirt and grime, which the smoother surface textures of Ferrari Precontraint® textiles aid in this regard.
Advances in PVDF (Polyvinylidene Fluoride polymer) technology for surface coating of PVC/PES composite textiles has resulted in textiles that are now lasting in excess of 25 years.
This longer life span is becoming comparable to some conventional building materials and makes the lighter weight, lower cost PVC/PES composites a cost effective construction method for permanent structures.
Fluotop® T2 by Ferrari® is a high concentration Polyvinylidene Fluoride polymer (PVDF) and is similar to Teflon in its characteristics of surface preservation, longevity and mechanical resistance to dirt.
The polymer invented some 30 years ago for application to solid surface materials has now been adapted by the Ferrari® research scientists and applied to their range of Architectural textiles.
“S” Coating (aka back PVDF)
“S” is also a PVDF polymer but in a lower concentration. The “S” coating has properties very similar to T2 whilst allowing high frequency welding and giving the textile more flexibility so demounting of tensile structures (Marquees / Circus tents) is possible with “S” treated fabrics.
Back PVDF is the same treatment applied to the underside (or back) of a textile, again for longevity cleaning and aesthetic purposes.
Low-E coatings are microscopically thin metallic oxide layers applied to the surface of the textile to reduce the materials “U-factor” by reducing the heat (energy) gained through absorption and therefore the amount of heat available to radiate through the material.
The principal mechanism of heat transfer is the thermal radiation of gained energy from a warm surface to a cooler surface. Coating the textile with a low-e material reflects a significant amount of this radiant heat, thus lowering the total heat flow through the material.
Low-E coatings are normally transparent to visible light, and opaque to infrared radiation.