This research determined the effects of abrasion treatments on the liquid barrier properties of selected nonwoven fabrics. The abrasion treatments included moderate and severe abrasion, flat and flat/flex abrasion, and dry and wet abrasion. The liquid barrier properties included surface wetting, liquid retention, and liquid penetration through nonwoven fabrics using a water/surfactant solution. The six test fabrics included nonwovens currently in use in protective clothing as well as developmental nonwovens incorporating microporous films or hydro-entangled cotton layers. Results of this study indicated that abrasion treatments increased the surface wetting rate of fabrics and their liquid penetration. There was no consistent effect on liquid retention, which differed significantly among the fabrics. Among the six fabrics, a cotton-containing fabric with a fluorochemical finish and a cotton and microporous film fabric showed excellent barrier potential, providing high liquid barrier performance before and after abrasion. In general, abrasion significantly decreased liquid barrier performance of the selected fabrics.
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