Definitions and Quality Assurance Checks

Nonwovens are engineered fabrics, that have often been created to perform a specific function or for a particular purpose. They may have an inbuilt limited-life, be a single-use fabric or a very durable structure.

The origins of nonwovens is not clear. However, according to The Non Wovens Institute at NC State University, the term “nonwoven fabrics” first appeared in 1942.

Early nonwoven fabrics were made by bonding webs of fibre with adhesives. The first written definition of nonwoven fabrics came from the American Society for Testing and Materials in 1962 which described them as “textile fabrics made of carded web or fiber web held together by adhesives”.

On their website, INDA (Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry) defines a nonwoven as:
Sheet or web structures bonded together by entangling fibre, or filaments (and by perforating films) mechanically, thermally or chemically. They are flat, porous sheets that are made directly from separate fibres or from molten plastic or plastic film. They are not made by weaving or knitting and do not require converting the fibres to yarn.

Non wovens are developed to demonstrate and deliver specific functions an properties, including absorbency, liquid repellence, resilience, stretch, softness, strength, flame retarding, frequent wash, cushioning, filtering, bacterial or sterile barriers.

Properties are frequently combined to create fabrics for a specific task. At the same time, they can mimic the appearance, texture and strength of a woven, or more familiar fabric, whilst offering additional features such as bulk, or paddings.

Quality assurance testing of the individual layers prior to bonding and afterwards as a complete structure is vital. Many different instruments can be involved, to test thickness, absorbency, surface free energy, flexibility, colour, opacity and dimensional stability.

To discuss tests suitable for the physical characteristics of your non-wovens, please contact our sales team 01223 492081 or

Definition of A Non-Woven