Wool Felt and Felted Synthetic Materials: A Solution for Product Design Challenges

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  • Topic: Wool, Felt, Textile
  • Pages : 10 (3328 words )
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  • Published : April 30, 2013
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Materials are the heart of the product and are usually the starting point of many of my designs. Some of my products are by-products of the creative exploration of a new material. Materials are the bread and butter of any designer and significantly influence the products style and ethos. Wool Felt and Felted Synthetic Materials Felt in its many forms can be your best solution for product design challenges. Wool felt is one of the world's oldest man-made fabrics because it does not require weaving. Instead, it interlocks to form a continuous useful material. Through a process of manipulating, hammering, and steaming, scales on the wool felt fibers engage each other to form a lasting, resilient bond. The natural fibers in wool felt cannot be duplicated in the laboratory. Each wool felt fiber has a flexible microscopic covering of scales similar to the scales on a fish. Wool felt scales are made of keratin, the same tough substance that grows to form horns and hooves on cattle and other animals.  

Wool felt is amazingly durable
* It resists aging.
* It remains dimensionally stable for decades.
* It functions normally in temperatures ranging from -60°F to 180°F. Even up to 250°F, if allowed to regain its natural moisture periodically. * It is inert to most hydrocarbons as well as most other chemicals. It even resists acids. However, wool fibers can be damaged by alkaline substances. * It does not ignite easily and usually extinguishes itself unless exposed to constant temperatures above its ignition point. * It holds its strength and resilient properties. Wool felt can be stressed to just under its elastic point repeatedly for years and still snap back to its natural shape. Piano hammers are a good example of this characteristic. * Felt can be machined. It can be cut, ground and formed like metal in appropriate densities. * It can be die-cut into intricate, high-precision shapes. * It can be heat formed.

* It can be bonded to almost any surface.
Pressed Wool Felt

Pressed wool felt is made via an intricate process often referred to as "wet processing". Fibers are worked together by pressure, moisture, and vibration, then carded and cross-lapped to make multiple layers of material. The ultimate thickness and density of the material determines the amount of layers that are then steamed, wetted, pressed and hardened. The majority of fiber used in pressed felt is wool. Wool fibers have small barbs on them, which aids in the natural locking or felting process

he Advantages of Felt
Felt is perhaps one of the most unique and versatile industrial fabrics available. Its many properties are unrivaled by any other single material.

Wool Felt is highly resilient, retaining its strength and unique properties for decades.

Wool Felt is chemical resistant.

Wool Felt is flame retardant and self-extinguishing.

Synthetic Felt and Blended Felt can be treated for flame resistance.

Felt is wear resistant.

Felt cuts with a clean edge.

Felt does not ravel or fray.

Felt can be cut to any size, shape or thickness with no need to finish edges.

Felt can be hard enough to turn on a lathe or soft enough to be sewn.

Felt can be exposed to the elements.

Felt maintains its physical properties as it wears, making it an excellent choice for polishing.

Felt is incredibly resilient, able to be compressed and released thousands of times without deformity.

Felt is an excellent sound insulator.

Felt has superb vibration damping qualities.

Felt has superior thermal insulating properties.

Felt has extraordinary wicking capabilities delivering consistent fluid flow without deterioration.

Felt can be highly absorbent, and can retain many times its weight in fluids.

Felt can be made water repellant.

Wool felt is a renewable and environmentally friendly resource Felt in contemporary design and architecture
* Felt is a material which is experiencing a renaissance. Not just...
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