Materials and fabrics have a long and interesting history. With the passage of time, a lot of innovations have been introduced and this has resulted in virtually endless choices in materials today. In fact, the toughest decision that a textile architect has to make today is the selection of right type of material and fabric. In the world of wood, concrete, glass, and steel, fabric has its own importance. In fact, it should not be an exaggeration to say that architectural fabric structures have gained rapid popularity in recent years. It has now become a very common and visible part of the built environment.
The material of a fabric determines the quality and application of the fabric. The tedious process through which the material is made has gone through many changes. The mechanization of this process of making the material has allowed more control over the material which allows us to be more precise and adds consistancy. This has lead to much advancement in the material composition and structure itself. Thanks to the application of chemistry, materials can now be waterproof, flame retardant and can even kill germs. The killing germs is done by using silver. pretty cool huh?
Most material fabric is made from the same material they have always been made from. These time tested materials have been around for ages because of their availability and durability. The cloth that you see today, in most cases, starts out as fibers which are then wound together to form long threads. This gives the material strength and the necessary length to be woven together. There are many different ways of weaving the material together. The different methods lead to different strengths and textures. You may find, in time, that you like one material over another or one weave over another. All materials have ther pros and cons, it is all a matter of taste and preference. You can however combine or layer materials and or fabrics to get the best of both worlds.
Gone are the days when architectural fabric structures were used for traveling circuses and garden parties only. These days, they come in a wide array of innovative forms with different uses. For example, let’s start with the automobile – our best friend. Car dealers, airport parking owners, and valet parking attendants have found that covering automobiles has great advantages. Architectural fabric structures have emerged as the best choice for this purpose. Surprisingly, these structures are now also used to cover animals. You can find the best example of this at Seaworld, Orlando. People there are very innovative, as they use these structures to cover dolphins in order to provide them protection against sunburn. Besides that, the fabric structures are also used as shades, lights, walls, sails, roofs, and even signs.
Materials and fabrics in the end can be cut and sewn together to make anything from a pair of pants to a wash cloth. Material has many uses today. The right material can keep you warm while another can let heat pass through it leaving only the cool feeling of shade. It can be made to be protective or comfortable. It clothes both humans and covers chairs and makes travel easier.
Material and fabrics are the base of our very lives. evrything is made out of some manufactured material fabric. Vertually nothing is made out of un altered or untreated natural materials. Most fabrics are made of polyesters or a mix of natural and manufactured materials. Though cotton is still huge, most waterproof things are made out of a plastic coated substance. sometimes it is just plastic cut into fibers then woven together. If something is material, or made of a material, that can also mean that it just exists and says very little about the object. So be careful when talking about material and be very specific, as material can mean many things.
Considering the wide variety of materials and fabrics available in the market, it is definitely a very difficult task to make the right choice. The best approach is to make a choice on the basis of the specific requirement, designing needs, and of course budget. Let’s go exploring some specific cases.
If your primary concern is shade, you are most likely to hear words like high-density polyethylene and structural mesh.
If you are looking for the right fabric for awnings and canopies, there are virtually endless options available to you. The buzzwords for you here may include acrylic canvas and backlit fabrics and materials. The greatest thing about these materials is that you can even apply graphics to them.
If you are researching your options for temporary, nomadic shelters, such as umbrellas or tents, some of the best choices available to you may include coated polyester and vinyl laminated.
If we talk about industries, the choice of materials and fabrics again depends upon the specific use. For example, if we talk about interior and lighting industry, they need special variety of fabrics that are flame resistant. Other important factors in this regard include percentage of reflectance and UL ratings.
For use in temporary buildings, industrial applications, and warehousing, pre-engineered and clear spans fabrics probably make the best choice – especially the ones that are made of mold and mildew resistant materials like polyolefin.
If we talk about the future of materials and fabric, very soon, we may also get much smarter fabrics, such as the ones that change color according to mood, light or weather.
Most fabrics that are not composites are made of naturally fibrous materials. The fibers are naturally strong strands. These strands are not particularly or relatively strong on their own. But because they have a fibrous nature they are able to be tied together in a way through a winding or spinning process.
Fabrics that are made of fibrous materials are normally stronger, if the tension being applied is parallel to the direction of the fibers in the material. This is why the material is then woven together in a pattern that allows equal strength in all directions.
Material shopping are you? Well perhaps you need some help. Now what are you looking for? Keep in mind that store owners and employees are not mind readers. They do not know what you are looking for but do have a large sum of knowledge. Normally a general idea will do, but be prepared to explain what you mean or do a little research or bring a sample material or picture. If the fabric or material has a texture you like you might want a far away and especially a close up picture to show the stitch work or material you are shopping for. You can also show picture of what you plan on doing and where the object covered in the material fabric will be placed. The people working with the material may know a thing or two and might have an idea or two that can improve your designs or plans.
Though more and more things are being made out of plastic fabric material is more eco friendly. Plastic does not degrade well when left out in the wild. Though there are some biodegradable plastics, a majority are not biodegradable. This means that whatever is left out in the wild will not degrade and may endanger wild life.
Things made out of material fabric are very much biodegradable and can, most of the time be eaten by wild life with little or no harm done. There are more and more new materials coming out that are cheaper, more flexible and are safer to make and discard.