Fabrics are the most complicated of the materials discussed here because the weave of the fabric stresses the fibers in different ways and sophisticated analysis is required to determine the stresses. In order to simplify the way fabrics are analyzed we are only going to consider individual fibers. If the tension in a single fiber due to a specified loading can be determined, then a fabric can be selected to meet the fiber design strength. Therefore this section is going to focus on fibers and their properties. However, for an even easier and more practical approach, design to failure stresses found from manufacturers' working load data and use appropriate factors of safety.

Common Fibers & their Applications

Table F1 - Common Fibers & their Applications - Compiled from several sources including the CRC Handbook

Natural Fibers
Fiber Resistant to Application
Cotton Age, heat, washing, wear solvents, alkalies, insects Almost all textile uses
Jute   Sacking, bale wrapping, curtains, bags
Kenaf   Rope, twine, carpet, canvas, bags
Hemp   Rope, sacking, canvas
Henequen   Rope, twine, canvas, bags
Ramie   Canvas
Manufactured (man-made or synthetic) Fibers
Fiber Resistant to Application
Polyacrylonitrile (acrylic) Dilute acids and alkalies, solvents, insects, mildew, weather Outdoor fabrics, carpets, knits, blankets
Polyamide Alkalies, molds, solvents, moths Tire cord, carpet, upholstery, apparel, belting, hose, tents
Polyester Weak acids and alkalies, solvents, oils, mildew, moths Apparel, curtains, rope, twine, sailcloth, belting, fiberfill
Polyethylene (olefin low density) Alkalies, acids (except nitric), insects, mildew Outdoor fabrics, filter fabrics
Polyethylene (olefin high density) Alkalies, acids (except nitric), insects, mildew Rope, twine, fishnets
Polypropylene (olefin) Alkalies, acids, insects, mildew Rope, twine, outdoor fabrics, carpets, upholstery
Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) Acids, alkalies, insects, mildew, oils Wide range of industrial and apparel uses, rope, work clothes, fish nets
Polyvinylidene chloride Acids, most alkalies, alcohol, insects, mildew, weather Outdoor fabrics, insect screens, curtains, upholstery, carpet, work clothes

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0633602. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recomendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation (NSF).

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