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Tencel Fabric Laid TPU Film for Bladder-Type Applications

Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) films are used for bonding a wide variety of textiles and non-woven fabrics in applications such as lining for shoes, thermal underwear, transparent bags, medical breathable tapes and more. Due to their high strength, tencel fabric laminated TPU film can offer superior protection against punctures, tear resistance and wear-and-tear while maintaining an outstanding breathability, making them ideal for bladder-type applications such as inflatable watercrafts and floatation devices, splints and lifts, and medical air/liquid holding and storage containers [1].
Tencel fibers have many unique qualities that make them ideal for use in a number of clothing, lifestyle and healthcare applications. Tencel fibers are lightweight, soft, hygroscopic and drape beautifully. They can also absorb sweat and moisture molecules directly into the fibers, preventing bacteria from growing and eliminating discomfort caused by sweat and heat while keeping the skin cool and dry. In addition, tencel has the ability to retain its inherent chemical properties in a wet state and can be easily biodegraded, offering an eco-friendly alternative to other synthetic fibers such as polyester and nylon.
TPU lamination offers many advantages over conventional adhesives, including a long shelf life, low VOC emissions, improved performance and sustainability. The tensile strength of laminated nonwovens can be significantly increased, while the adhesion between the TPU film and the fabric is greatly improved. In addition, TPU is resistant to UV and is suitable for applications in harsh environments where the fabric may be exposed to sunlight or chemicals.
In this study, a multi-layer composite fabric consisting of three layers is produced by the process of needle punch and lamination. The optimum Tencel/LMPET nonwoven fabrics were made with a blending ratio of 60/40 wt% and needle punch depth of 14 mm, followed by lamination with TPU/triclosan compound membranes. The morphology, FTIR, tensile strength and water vapor transmission of the resulting nonwovens were tested.
The results indicate that the laminated tencel/LMPET/TPU/TCL membranes exhibit an optimal bursting strength of 83 +- 7 N and a high level of water vapor transmission. Based on the requirements of EN 14126:2003 and GB 19082-2003 for medical protective garments against COVID-19, this demonstrates that the resulting composite fabric can protect users effectively by releasing sweat and moisture vapor while locking out external heat to keep the wearer comfortable and safe.
Furthermore, the composite membranes show an antibacterial effect by reducing the growth of E. coli and S. aureus, demonstrating their potential to be used as a medical protection layer for patients who need to stay in hospitals or clinics for a prolonged period of time. The developed nonwovens provide multiple functions and can be readily manufactured using simple techniques. This technology will be very useful for protecting the health and safety of people who are in a vulnerable situation.