Non-wovens are flexible, porous, products consisting of one or more fibre layers. The separate fibres may either be preferentially oriented in one direction or may be deposited in a random manner. They are bonded by chemical, thermal or mechanical processes into textile products. Non-wovens are mainly planar structures. This relatively young branch of the textile industry has expanded enormously after the second world-war because of the high production rates and the resulting cost savings.
Contemporary non-woven fabric dates to the early1930s. At that time, a few textile companies began experimenting with bonded materials as a way of utilizing cotton waste. The first commercial production of the products now called non-wovens began in 1942 in the United States in an effort to produce fabric directly from fibres. The market for non-woven products has experienced tremendous growth and has potential for more.
Nonwovens may be classified as either disposable or durable goods. Disposable or non durable, nonwovens include such one-time use products as diapers, medical dressings, household wipes, and disposable protective clothing. Durable goods are used for apparel interfacing, automobile headliners, road underlayment, and carpets.