Blog • August 30, 2020
What’s a “high-performance” textile? There’s no simple definition. Making sense of the term and choosing the right high-performance textile for a specific application can be challenging.
So, let’s break it down. Three elements collectively define high performance.
Organizations that want long-lasting textile solutions often define durability as the ability to withstand daily wear and tear.
Measuring durability used to be fairly subjective. Presently, the Wyzenbeek test and the Martindale test can quantify a fabric’s ability to resist abrasion, offering benchmarks for usage and application.
The Association for Contract Textiles creates performance guidelines that serve as the industry standard and guide the selection of high-performance textiles. For example, ACT recommends that woven fabrics intended for use in high-traffic, public spaces hold up to the Wyzenbeek method of 30,000 double-rubs or through the Martindale method pf 40,000 cycles.
ACT also clarifies durability depending on where a textile is specified. Applications like a single-shift corporate environment, a hotel room or a conference room may have different requirements than high-traffic spaces like 24-hour healthcare facilities, airport terminals, lecture halls, fast food restaurants or casinos.
2. Fibers and Cleanability
A wide variety of synthetic fibers makes it easier than ever for designers to select textiles that are easy to maintain without sacrificing aesthetics. Textiles can hold up to stringent cleaning and disinfecting methods in today's ever changing environments.
Each type of synthetic fiber translates to a unique aesthetic, look and feel. A few options include the following:
Solution-dyed fibers are entirely saturated with color in the dyeing process to create a vibrant material. These fabrics don’t weaken or fade when cleaned or disinfected. Solution-dyed fiber constructions include nylon, polyester, acrylic and polyolefin.
In particular, solution-dyed nylons have a slight iridescence to them, almost mimicking the aesthetic of rayon and silk. Pallas patterns of this type include Demeter (pictured below, left) and the Expressions Collection (pictured below, right).
Solution-dyed nylon and polyester combinations offer a broader range of colors and pattern detail than 100 percent solution-dyed nylon. Pallas patterns of this type include Nomad (pictured below, left) and Tartan (pictured below, right).
Bleach-cleanable polyesters tend to offer a wider range of aesthetic options because they have a higher sheen and appear more texturized. Pallas patterns of this type include Fuse (pictured below, left) and Mod (pictured below, right) from the Minim Collection, as well as Glitz (pictured below, lower left) and Glam (pictured below, lower right) from the Atelier Collection.
Bleach-cleanable Crypton® fabrics are made of 100 percent polyester and infused with Crypton® processing to meet cleanability and antimicrobial standards from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These fabrics handle a cleaning solution that’s up to one part bleach for every 10 parts water. They also offer superior moisture and stain resistance. Pallas options of this type include Unspun and Surface.
Non-woven fabrics are constructed with polyurethane, vinyl and silicone. These offer a wide range of aesthetics without compromising cleanability. Our patterns Burnish (picture below, left), Brogue (pictured below, right), Wander (pictured below, lower left) and Deja Vu (pictured below, lower right) stand up to rigorous cleaning protocols.
3. Finishes for Stain and Moisture Resistance
Finishes help textiles repel moisture, dirt, spills and stains. Science has transformed textiles, protect the structure of fibers at the molecular level. High-performance finishes generally fall into two categories:
- Stain and moisture resistance: Alta™, INCASE™, Nano-Tex®, GreenShield® and Teflon®.
- Stain resistance with a moisture barrier: Alta™ with liquid barrier, Crypton®, GreenShield® or INCASE™ with Balance moisture barrier.
Technological advancements have allowed our industry to produce textiles that are more resistant to stain and microbes than ever before.
Fabric Performance Is at an All-Time High
As our industry advances, the definition of a high-performance textile will continue to evolve. For now, consider how durability, cleanability and stain- and moisture-resistance will affect the performance of your textiles.