It's all in your hands, e.g., when you polish your car. It keeps in the warmth and helps wounds to heal. It reinforces curtains- and suit material, decorates and helps with the cleaning. In the motor car it's found in the seating and in the air- or pollen filters. What we're talking about is non-woven fabric, or simply, fleece.
It is made up of individual layers, which are laid one on top of the other and then joined by thousands of very thin barbed needles which move up and down at a breathtaking speed. Felt, is more or less, it's predecessor.
Felt has probably more organic origins, fleece, on the other hand, can be, and often is, made from from synthetic materials. Of course the original fibre determines and strongly influences the qualities of the finished product. Indeed, at the end of the finishing process, one can still thinly apply further materials. The even build-up is what's important. Just imagine if the air filter would let less well filtered air pass through in some places.
How then, does one distribute the fibres evenly? One can, e.g., have them floating in water where they then can be ladled off by suitable machines in such a way as to create a continuous textile surface of always the same width. While in the paper-manufacturing process, a molecular joining takes place, the fleece materials, oddly enough, don't join at all. In some manufacturing processes this material is so loose, that even during the finishing process they have to be consolidated.
If the individual fibers are not won by the shredding of material but rather from meltable synthetics, then these can be extruded by pressing the material through very fine nozzles. Thereby, the strands can be of almost any desirable length. Basically, almost any lightweight and loose material can be used to manufacture fleece. The fine distribution can also be carried out by an air-flow-process.
The technology of customary lead-batteries has also been changed by the introduction of fleece. It is, because of it's invulnerability, in a position to take up the liquid-acid components and still allow suitable reactions. The results are leakproof batteries, which, can be used in off-road vehicles, e.g., when driving on steep slopes. In the future battery- and fuel-cell technology, fleece will probably become even more important. 06/12