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Laminating

Laminated textiles consist of one or more layers of textile and component. The Textile Institute defines a laminated or combined fabric as;

‘a material composed of two or more layers, at least one of which is a textile fabric, bonded closely together by means of an added adhesive, or by the adhesive properties of one or more of the component layers’

This adhesive is required to bond the fabric and component layers together. Creating a strong bond, which will not deteriorate through conditions experienced in use such as movement and laundering, is not the biggest challenged faced. Adhesives are often associated with making the fabric too rigid and thus affecting the handle, which is often a negative characteristic, particularly for applications in performance clothing where comfort is a requirement. Environmental consideration has led towards more interest in hot melt adhesives, rather than solvent based adhesive, or the use of flame adhesion. (ref to  http://article.sapub.org/10.5923.j.ajps.20120203.04.html  )

Laminated fabrics are widely used in high performance apparel where fabrics are required to be waterproof yet breathable. In this case a laminate membrane Laminates often consist of a non-textile membrane sandwiched between 2 textiles, for example in the case of the micropourous membrane Gore Tex.

Fig 8

Figure 8. Gore Tex laminated fabric depicts the functions for the different layers. Image from; Gore-tex?.co.uk/">www.Gore-tex?.co.uk

Usually the reverse or technical back of the fabric surface is laminated, so as to not affect the look of the fabric, and in the case of the Hydrophilic? membranes, these are more effective worn close to the body. As in the gore tex example, the membrane or laminate is often sandwiched between two fabric layers. However this is not the case for fashion fabrics where the look is the priority over function. Lamination is carried out on the fabric surface to produce some visually interesting designs such as foil holograms or textures. 

Lamination is widely used in garment manufacture where woven or non-woven fabrics are pre-prepared with thermoset adhesive. These are then cut and applied to the fabric as part of the manufacturing process to provide reinforcement, for example of a button hole, or to give shape and stability, for example in a collar. These ‘fusible’s’ are applied under heat and pressure for a specified time, to set the thermo adhesive.