The fabric hand feel is a comprehensive reaction caused by some mechanical and physical properties of the fabric through the touch of the human hand. The hand feels in different degrees reflect the appearance and comfort of the material. And people’s requirements for the hand feel vary with the use of the fabric. Fabrics used for padding require stiffness, so such textiles are subjected to a stiff finishing. Summer fabrics should preferably have a cool and silky feel. Winter fabrics should have a thick and plump feeling. Therefore, it is very important for fabric finishing to improve and obtain various unique hand feels.
The so-called stiff finishing is using a film-forming polymer to produce the slurry and adhere to the fabric surface. This polymer is dried into a film, covering the surface of the fabric or fiber, thus giving them a smooth, stiff, thick, plump feel.
There are two types of stiffening finishing agents: natural and chemical agents. The natural one can not only improve the stiffness of the fabric but also glue more fillers. The function of the filler is to increase the weight of the fabric and give the fabric a smooth feel. The commonly used fillers are mainly talc, kaolin, and bentonite. Usually, preservatives are added to the stiffener. The main purpose is to prevent the bad effect of microorganisms on carbohydrates and oils and fats and to extend the storage period. Commonly used preservatives are phenol, ethyl naphthol, salicylanilide, parabens, etc. In addition, some dyes or pigments can generally be added to the solution to improve the fabric’s color after sizing.
The chemical one can obtain a stiff finishing effect of washing resistance. Some thermoplastic resin emulsions can also be used as finishing agents, such as polyacrylates, polyethylene, or polyester emulsions. After heat treatment, they become water-insoluble resin particles or continuous films fixed on the fabric, which can give the fabric a stiff, soft, or plump feel with different kinds of resin.
Nowadays, water-soluble polyester resins are used more and more widely in the stiff finishing process. It is called a Friendly Stiffener not only because it is environmentally friendly but also economical in cost. For more information, please refer to https://www.polyestermfg.com/portfolio-items/textile-stiffening-agent/.