PVC Vinyl Fabrics: What You Need to Know
Choosing the right type of industrial fabric for your specific use can be challenging given the specific requirements of your desired use. Fortunately there are a a number of options, all with specific strengths and weaknesses. Some fabrics are highly durable, while others offer flexibility, others are inherently fire resistant, while others offer good abrasion resistance. Those inherent qualities might me that a fabric is good for the specific demands of the marine environment but not for aerospace.
However, off all the industrial fabrics currently available on the marketplace, only PVC vinyl fabrics offer the ability to have a variety of these characteristics making them suitable for a much wider range of different applications than other fabric options.
About PVC Vinyl Fabrics
PVC vinyl fabrics are synthetic technical fabrics engineered for use across a broad variety of applications including sports clothing and equipment, awnings, space vehicles, fire protective clothing, automotive components, and military and commercial tents.
Such fabrics are valued for these types of demanding applications because of their strength, durability, and flexibility giving them a superior ability to withstand abrasion and distortion. PVC fabrics are also preferred by many manufacturers for their ease of use, versatility, water and chemical resistance, longevity.
They also require less energy to produce than most other types of industrial fabric. This is part of the reason they are so cost-effective in terms of enabling manufacturers to produce quality goods for less.
PVC has an amorphous structure and contains halogens like chlorine and fluorine, that are known for being stable. This chemical stability is what enables flexible PVC to be so resistant to stressors like flame, chemicals and oil.
Common Uses of PVC Vinyl Fabrics
Versatile PVC vinyl fabrics are suitable for a wide variety of industrial and commercial uses.
- Protective suits for astronauts, firefighters, and military personnel
- Industrial tarps, hydraulic hoses, conveyor belts, geomembranes, sacks and containers
- Automotive uses like airbags, seat covers, headliners, convertible roofs
- Aerospace applications such as hot-air balloons, airships, space landing airbags and parachutes
- Marine uses like boat tops, sails, life jackets, hovercraft skirts
- Architectural and structural uses like roofing, awnings, and inflatable structures
- Healthcare fabrics, including fire-resistant mattresses and anti-microbial privacy curtains
Qualities of PVC Vinyl Fabrics
The main reason PVC vinyl fabrics can be applied to so many different usages is because of their many physical qualities. The aforementioned chemical stability of the key compounds found in PVC make this type of fabric hard to compete with in terms of qualities that make it suitable for industrial use.
Among other things, PVC vinyl fabrics are:
- Resistant to flame – Has ignition temperatures as high as 455 degrees
- Resistant to oil and chemicals – Hard to dissolve in most organic solvents
- Mechanically stable – Show little change in molecular structure
- Processable and moldable – Strong exterior surfaces and superior embossing performance
PVC textiles are also extremely durable, thanks to PVC’s molecular structure, which binds chlorine atoms to every other carbon chain. This is what makes PVC and PVC fabrics so resistant to oxidative reactions, enabling it to maintain performance over a long period of usage.
Additionally, PVC vinyl fabric offers good flexibility, elasticity, impact resistance, anti-fouling, and resistance to microbial growth. The bottom line is that PVC vinyl fabrics are particularly suitable for safety reasons in products that are close to our daily lives.
It’s not for nothing that PVC is replacing many traditional materials in non-fabric applications, including wood, metal, concrete and clay. PVC is versatile, cost effective, and can offer resistance to most common stresses. These same qualities are what make PVC vinyl fabrics so ideal for such a wide variety of uses.
Now that you know a little about PVC vinyl fabrics, download our free whitepaper "The Flexible PVC Composite Textile Advantage" to get the complete details.