Updated: Nov 22, 2021
With the increase in traffic density and the developing trade, long journeys have brought safety and comfort to the fore in the automotive industry. For this purpose, the use of textile materials in vehicles has increased and expectations from these materials have increased.
Automotive textiles consist of technical textiles used in the aerospace industry as well as land, sea and air transport vehicles.
Today, it is seen that the ecological and recyclable materials to be used in an automobile are very valuable for the environment. The lightness of the car is also an important criterion, as it will allow to consume less fuel and conserve natural resources.
Compared to other materials, textiles are seen to have many superior features such as being relatively light and strong, high moisture retention ability, adjustability of porosity, low cost recycling, fibrous surface and different combinations with other materials. In addition to functions such as isolation, security, decoration and filtering, it also provides comfort in vehicles.
Many textile products produced with different raw materials and production methods are used in the automotive industry. Non-woven and woven fabrics are the most commonly used fabric types. According to the usage areas of the textile products used; carpet, seat belt, airbag, sound insulator, seat upholstery fabric, seat lining fabric, tire cord fabric, seat filler fabric, inside the door, filter fabric and canvas. In addition, textile materials are also used extensively in armored coatings of vehicles. Approximately 20kg of textile material is used in a passenger car.
The search for textile products to increase quality and be more economical continues, and it is expected to exhibit high strength, long-lasting strength, light weight and a good appearance.
The largest group of textile materials used in a middle class automobile is nonwoven fabrics (nonwovens) produced from polypropylene or polyester fibers, used in shaped or flat form. In the upholstery fabric group, which ranks second, there are woven fabrics produced from polyester yarns, generally with plain or velvet technology.
Tires have to show a serious thermal and mechanical resistance due to their contact with the ground. In addition, being shock absorbing is another desirable feature. It is impossible to achieve this performance without the supporting feature of textile fibers.
Tire basically consists of rubber, cord fabrics and steel wires. Cord fabric provides reinforcement and dimensional stability, allowing the load to be distributed evenly on the tire. It increases the load carrying capacity of the tire.
The purpose of use of seat belts are materials that stop the forward movement of the person in a controlled manner during the sudden deceleration of the vehicle and reduce serious injuries and deaths by approximately 50%.
Seat belts should be able to carry a load of 1500 kg with 25-30% elongation. This fabric must be resistant to shock force. Fabric edges should not be hard. Although polyamide-based yarns were used in the first seat belts, polyester is used more because of its UV resistance.
Airbags are the automatic protection system of vehicles. Airbags alone (without the effect of the seat belt) reduce the death rate by 28% and serious injuries by 38%. Airbags are mounted on the steering wheel and instrument panel and inflate in the event of a collision at the front and rear of the vehicle. The airbag is designed to inflate in less than 40 milliseconds.
The airbag fabric should be resistant to hot gases and should not melt on its surface. The amount of fabric required for the airbag varies according to the location of the airbag in the car.
Today, a silicone-coated fabric woven from nylon 6.6 yarn is used.
The most well-known of the textiles to be used in transportation is the upholstery of automobile seats and these materials hold the largest volume in production. In automobile seats generally; triple coatings are used as upholstery fabric, foam and lining. The functions of the coating components vary according to the area where the coating will be used. The task of the upholstery fabric; to provide comfort, aesthetics and wear resistance.
Mostly polyester fibers are used. Properties such as resistance to abrasion, resistance to UV light, easy to clean, mold resistance and good tear strength have increased the use of polyester.
In order to increase comfort and functionality: Processes such as improved finishing processes that achieve a softer handle, antimicrobial finishes, microcapsules, antistatic and dirt-repellent finishing processes and techniques that provide thermal comfort can be used.
Floor coatings are used for decorative and insulation purposes on the floors of automobiles. The products to be used as a base coat must have a certain hardness, wear resistance and ease of cleaning. Another feature that has gained importance in recent years is flame retardancy. Floor coverings to be used in the car are required to be resistant to high temperatures and flame retardant.
Tufted velor carpets are generally used in passenger cabin floors of automobiles. Carpets are used in transportation vehicles with their vibration damping, heat insulation and sound absorption properties in addition to their comfort properties.
Door and Wall Panel Coverings
The main features of door and wall panels are aesthetic appearance and soundproofing. The fabrics used in these applications should be able to take shape easily without losing their aesthetic appearance. Warp knit, flat woven, circular knit and nonwoven fabrics can be used.
In the automotive sector, car manufacturers use materials that are ecologically harmless to the environment and humans. Vegetable fibers have features such as environmental protection, recycling and low specific gravity compared to fibers such as glass and carbon. For example, vegetable fiber-based composite structures are used in the door panels of Mercedes-Benz E-class vehicle models. The flax/hemp fibers in this structure are coated with epoxy material. In this way, 20% reduction has been achieved compared to door panels made with glass fibers. It has also been improved in mechanical properties. Vegetable fiber-based composite structures are used in the production of door panels, trunk lining and rear panel where music systems are located.
Car ceilings are multi-layer materials. Car ceilings are often made from nonwovens in Japan and Europe. In the USA, warp knitted fabrics find use. Warp knit fabrics have much better friction and pilling resistance, and they can also be molded much better due to their very good stretching function. Nonwoven surfaces are preferred because of their low shrinkage functions after molding. In addition, car ceilings can be designed with sound insulating and absorbing properties.
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