Spunlace nonwoven fabrics are lightweight, porous materials manufactured using a process called hydroentanglement. In addition, spunlace nonwoven fabrics offer a combination of strength, absorbency, softness and permeability due to their unique production process. This post discusses the properties, types and common uses of spunlace nonwovens, especially in the production of wet wipes.

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What Is Spunlace Nonwoven Fabric?

Spunlace nonwoven fabric is produced by spraying high-pressure water jets onto a web of loose fibers to entangle them into a uniform sheet. The process, also known as spunlacing or hydroentangling, requires no adhesives or chemicals.

The main advantages of spunlace nonwovens compared to other nonwovens are:

• Higher strength – The use of water jets leads to stronger fiber to fiber bonding.
• Better porosity – The perforating water jets create a porous sheet structure for high absorbency.
• Softer hand – The water entangled fabric has a smoother, softer feel.
• Higher flexibility – Spunlace nonwovens can be made in multiple layers for enhanced functionality.
• More sustainable – No adhesives or binders are required in the production process.
• Lower costs – The process requires less energy compared to techniques like needlepunching.

Types Of Spunlace Non-woven Fabric

Spunlace nonwoven fabrics are typically categorized based on fiber material:

• Cellulosic – Made using natural fibers like wood pulp, cotton and hemp. Absorbent and sustainable.
• Synthetic – Produced from man-made fibers like polyester and polypropylene. More durable and lower cost.
• Blended – Combinations of cellulosic and synthetic fibers to achieve desired properties at optimum costs.

Specialty spunlace non-wovens are also made with fibers like bamboo rayon, Tencel and SeaCell for unique properties.

Within each category, fabrics can differ in:

• Basis weight – The weight of the fabric per square meter, typically between 30-150 g/m2.
• Porosity – The percentage of open space within the sheet structure, ranging from 40-90%.
• Pore size – The diameter of the holes in the fabric, categorized as microporous or macroporous.
• Linting and particle release properties – Important for hygienic end uses.
• Printability and surface finish – Some grades allow ink receptivity for decoration.

Uses Of Spunlace Nonwoven Fabric

Due to their high absorbency, softness and versatility, spunlace nonwoven fabrics find a variety of uses:

• Wet wipes – The most common application where the nonwoven acts as a substrate for liquid cleaning and disinfecting formulations.
• Feminine hygiene products – Used in the manufacture of sanitary napkins and pantyliners.
• Medical products – Spunlace nonwovens are as made into gowns, drapes, face masks and wound dressings.
• Home furnishings – They are to use as tablecloths, mattress toppers, upholstery and sound insulation.
• Industrial applications – Spunlace nonwovens filter dust, absorb oil and act as binders in products like insulation mats.
• Agriculture – As mulch covers and growth mats in gardening and farming.