Given the central importance of textiles in our lives and homes, it’s hardly surprising that textile chemistry is now one of the leading areas of applied science. The statistics clearly back this up, of course, but at a simpler level, all we have to do is look at the greatly enhanced quality and functionality of our clothing and home furnishings. Textile chemicals are a pivotal element of the textile industry, and they contribute vitally to every stage of that industry, from pre-treatment right through to the finishing of textiles.
How is it that some fabrics keep athletes cool, while others keep us warm? The simple answer is that textile chemists apply the principles of chemistry to meet a wide variety of needs. All of this is based on the application of detailed knowledge of fibres to every area of textile chemistry. Specialists in polymer chemistry are especially important today, of course, because polymer synthetics are now such a vital part of the textile industry.
The central importance of textile chemistry in today’s global economy is evident in a report published by Zion Research, which predicts that the global textile chemicals market should be worth 25.5 billion U.S. dollars by 2020. Major players in the industry include BASF SE (Germany), Lonsen (China) and the Dow Chemical Company (U.S.). So, this is very much a global phenomenon. Although home furnishings has been among the largest applications for textile chemicals, clothing is now expected to be one of the fastest-growing categories in the period leading up to 2020. All in all, the chemistry between science and textiles seems destined for even greater success in the future.