Technical glossary


Unit: N (Newton) per 5cm (centimeter)

Norm: EN ISO 2411 2000

Definition: Adhesion expresses the tendency of different surfaces to stick together. Adhesive force is generated by a number of factors, like surface structure, chemical composition of the surfaces, application temperature and pressure.

Explication: The higher the value, the better the adhesion. When welded or glued together, the adhesion value between the textile and the coating is of high importance to define the strength of the seams. Good adhesion means that the coating will not slide off the textile when pulled apart. At Sioen we execute tests on every production batch after high frequency welding.

Antibacterial treated

Unit: AB

Definition: Anti-bacteria treated means that the fabric, and/or coating layers have been treated with an agent destroying or suppressing bacterial growth and fungi

Explication: At Sioen, anti-bacteria treatment means that the coated technical textile is more resistant to bacteria than other, non-treated fabrics. Often, this treatment is combined with extra UV stabilization (ABUV). In the coating plant, the anti-bacterial agents are mixed into the coating.


Unit: text “Anti-dirt” or “dirt repellant”

Definition: Dirt is unclean matter, especially when in contact with a person's clothes, skin or possessions when they are said to become dirty. Common types of dirt include: dust, filth, grime (a black, ingrained dust such as soot) and soil. Anti-dirt is the ability to reject the above.

Explication: At Sioen, anti-dirt means that the coated technical textile are treated to be more dirt repellent and less soiling. The contact angle and chemical nature of the topcoat plays an important role in keeping the membrane clean and self cleaning for a prolonged time. In order to make the membrane self cleaning all Fluomax membranes are lacquered on both sides with a new generation of fluor lacquer. Beside the major dirt resistance improvements, the membrane remains instant weldable. Moreover this topcoat is a guarantee for an excellent longevity and long lasting esthetics. In addition, The Sioen Fluo2max range includes a perfect UV blocking layer.

Antistatic / Surface resistivity

Unit: text “Antistatic”

Definition: an antistatic treatment avoids the effects of static electricity build-up on the surface. An electricity build-up can be dangerous, as it can lead to electrical discharges, initiating ignition in ATEX environments.

Explication: The need of an antistatic agent depends on the application in which the fabric is used. The role of the anti-static agent is to make the material slightly conductive, hence creating a low surface resistivity and enabling the electricity to dissipate over the surface. Typical applications where such protection is needed, are packaging materials for electronic components, roll doors in ATEX environment and ventilation hoses in mining applications.

Breaking strength

Unit: N (Newton) per 5cm (centimeter)

Norm: EN ISO 1421/1 1998

Definition: Breaking strength is the maximum force that a material is capable of withstanding without rupture. Also known as tensile strength.

Explication: Breaking strength is mainly defined by the base fabric. It is an important factor which needs to be taken into account when a structure will be tensioned and/or when it will have to endure sudden forces. At Sioen we execute breaking strength tests on every production batch.


Unit: a figure e.g. 1100 dtex

Norm: DIN ISO 2060

Definition: Tex is a unit of measure for the linear mass density of fibers, yarns and thread and is defined as the mass in grams per 1000 meters. The unit code is "tex". The most commonly used unit is actually decitex (abbreviated dtex), which is the mass in grams per 10.000 meters. When measuring objects that consist of multiple fibers, the term "filament tex" is sometimes used, referring to the mass in grams per 1000 meters of a single filament

Explication: At Sioen, yarns are used which are produced in our proper spinning mill. Sioen has one of the most modern spinning mills in the world with an output of approximately. 16 000 tons of polyester high-tenacity yarns (up to 6 600 dtex). Some of the yarn is twisted in the twisting plant. The most commonly used titers in direct coating are 1100 dtex, 550 dtex and 280 dtex.

Embossing / Grained

Unit: Text (e.g. “glossy”, “dull”, “3D”, “leather look”, “rice grain”)

Definition: Embossing refers to the creation of some kind of design, decoration or pattern on a technical textile.

Explication: Embossing is a process which changes the aspect of the material by modifying the surface morphology. Embossment is performed at the final stage of the coating process by which each coated fabric can get a specific design.

Extreme temperature

Unit: ° (degrees) C (Celsius)

Norm: DIN EN 1876/2 1998

Definition: Ability to remain unaffected by extreme heat and/or cold.

Explication: At Sioen, most coated products resist to temperatures ranging from -30° up to +70° C, without losing important functionality features like flexibility (at low temperatures), chemical stability (at high temperatures) and tenacity. For harsher conditions than stated above, Sioen has custom made technical products that withstand lower or higher temperatures than the ones mentioned above.

Flame retardant

Unit: Text (for instance: B1, M2, ADRII, …)

Norm: - DIN 4102:1998 : Fire test to building materials – Classification

  • EN 13501-1:2007+A1:2009: Fire classification of construction products and building elements. Classification using test data from reaction to fire tests
  • NF P92-507 Février 2004: Sécurité contre l'incendie - Bâtiment - Matériaux d'aménagement - Classement selon leur réaction au feu
  • BS 7837:1996: Specification for Flammability Performance for Textiles Used in the Construction of Marquees and Similar Textile Structures
  • California Code of Regulations Title 19: Flame Resistant Requirements for Canopies / Tents

Definition: A technical textile is rendered flame retardant, by the addition of flame retardants , a diverse group of chemicals which are added to yarns, textiles, and surface finishes. Flame retardants inhibit or delay the spread of fire by suppressing the chemical reactions in the flame or by the formation of a protective layer on the surface of a material. They may be mixed with the base material (additive flame retardants) or chemically bonded to it (reactive flame retardants). Mineral flame retardants are typically additive while organohalogen and organophosphorus compounds can be either reactive or additive.

Explication: Building materials should comply to local and international safety regulations. One of the most important properties is the ability of the membrane to avoid fire initiation and propagation over the building structure.

The ability of a fabric to burn or ignite causing fire or combustion is quantified through fire standards. Internationally there is a variety of test protocols to evaluate the flammability of a textile material. The rating achieved is used in building codes, insurance requirements, fire codes and other regulations governing the use of building materials.

All tensile architecture fabrics are produced using high quality flame retardant additives in order to achieve appropriate flame retardant performances recommended by the building industry. Our materials meet the required specifications; they are: self-extinguishing, with low flame propagation and no flaming droplets. All Sioen Textile architecture fabrics comply with the following fire standards:

  • DIN 4102:1998 : Fire test to building materials – Classification
  • EN 13501-1:2007+A1:2009: Fire classification of construction products and building elements. Classification using test data from reaction to fire tests
  • NF P92-507 Février 2004: Sécurité contre l'incendie - Bâtiment - Matériaux d'aménagement - Classement selon leur réaction au feu
  • BS 7837:1996: Specification for Flammability Performance for Textiles Used in the Construction of Marquees and Similar Textile Structures
  • California Code of Regulations Title 19: Flame Resistant Requirements for Canopies / Tents
Food grade

Unit: Text (foodgrade)

Norm: differs from country to country

Definition: A food grade technical textile can be used in direct or indirect contact with foodstuffs without health risks.

Explication: Food contact materials comply with the EU food packaging directive. This directive states that only those chemicals may be used for food contact, which are on a positive list (EU 1935/2004 and 10/2011 ) These directives also specify the maximum migration level of each allowed product into the foodstuff.

Gas permeability

Unit: cm³/m².bar.d

Norm: ISO 15105-1

Definition: Gas permeability is the rate at which a stored gas escapes through the wall of a recipient.

Explication: For certain applications (biogas storage, oil booms, life rafts), a textile with a minimal gas permeability is needed in order to prevent leakage of gas. Sioen applies special chemistry and optimized coating parameters for these specific applications.

Hydrolytic resistance

Unit: Text (Hydrolytic resistant)

Definition: Hydrolysis is the decomposition of certain molecules in environments with high humidity or in a harsh chemical environment.

Explication: Every molecule can decompose under the action of temperature, humidity, UV light, acid or alkaline conditions. A typical example of a severe atmosphere can be found inside a biogas reactor. Due to the combined action of high temperature, high humidity, corrosive gases and acids, certain components of a coating risk to be destroyed, which would adversely affect the important functional properties of the membrane like gas permeation or flexibility. Sioen produces hydrolysis resistant membranes by selecting special coating recipes which remain functional in harsh conditions.

Low-E: thermal performance

Unit: Text “Low-E”

Definition: Low emissivity (low E or low thermal emissivity) refers to a surface condition that emits low levels of radiant thermal (heat) energy. All materials absorb, reflect and emit radiant energy according to Planck's Law but here, the primary concern is a special wavelength interval of radiant energy, namely thermal radiation of materials.

Explication: Building using textile membranes can show improved thermal gain and energy balances which can be directly attributed to their inherent properties.
Due to their high translucency, architectural membranes are characterized by a high incident radiant flux. In order to monitor and to control the energy management intelligent combination of different fabrics are put in place. Insulation is mostly done by using double membranes thus taking advantage of the combination of incident radiation and the insulating air gap in between the 2 membranes.

Our opaque membranes also offer the designers the ability to reduce the high radiation flux.

Sioen also offers low emissivity membranes with the lowest emissivity on the market (E = 0.22)

The use of Low E membranes in textile architecture ensures the final customer the optimal thermal comfort.

Patented PVDF anti-dirt top coat

Unit: Text “patented PVDF anti-dirt top coat”

Definition: Polyvinylidene fluoride, or polyvinylidene difluoride, (PVDF) is a highly non-reactive thermoplastic fluoropolymer.

Explication: Top coats are applied in order to ensure good clean ability, good slip and processing. Furthermore they offer an efficient barrier for plasticizer migration and weather impact. Our top coat is a balanced compromise between various technology parameters including optimized weldability, excellent weathering resistance and long lasting aesthetics.
Backed with a strong experience in developing technical textiles, the Sioen R&D group , in close cooperation with its chemical division, a new patented generation of top coats which provides a major step forward in durability combined with long lasting soil resistance and direct weldability.

To protect the coated fabric against environmental influences, all Fluomax membranes are lacquered on both sides with this new generation PVDF lacquer. Beside the major dirt resistance improvements, the membrane are also instant weldable to make the material easier to handle. A guarantee for an excellent longevity and long lasting esthetics

TiO2 prime coat barrier- achieving outstanding UV resistance

Unit: Text “TiO2”

Definition: TiO2 or Titanium dioxide

Explication: Since decades TiO2 is known as a superb UV barrier. An extreme thin layer already ensures a very efficient protection against UV radiation. For the same reason it is being used in cosmetics as sun blocker as it provides an excellent UV protection against the adverse effects of UV radiation.

By combining this technology with its new generation of Fluomax PVDF topcoat, Sioen achieved in developing a highly innovative coating which blocks all UV and by this preserves the fabric from the adverse weathering influences, result of which is a long lasting membrane. The Fluo2max technology therefore allows us to issue a warranty of 20 years for permanent architectural structures.

Light fastness

Unit: A number (e.g. 7-8)

Norm: ISO 105 B02

Definition: Light fastness defines the resistance against discoloration under the influence of (sun)light. The more a coating discolours, the lower the number. 8 is the highest class. A light fastness of 8 means that one cannot see a difference between an exposed and an unexposed sample.

Explication: textiles and/or their coatings are colored by using pigments. A good light fastness is achieved by using only pigments with a high color stability, in combination with the highest quality resins, UV and thermal stabilizers.


Unit: g/m² (grams per square meter)

Norm: DIN ISO 2286/2 1998

Definition: Light in weight. Being lighter in weight than another item or object of identical use, quality, or function.

Explication: Lightweight can have many meanings. What for the one lightweight is, is for the other maybe very heavy. All depends of the beholder and more specifically on the application in which a technical textile is used. In tensile architecture for instance, a technical textile can be light weight below 450 grams per square meter. In apparel, this same weight is usually very high.

Low wick

Unit: Text “Low Wick”

Definition: This is the abbreviation of low wicking. Wicking is the flow of liquids through porous media.

Explication: During its lifetime a textile architecture fabric can possibly be exposed to numerous, severe and sometimes unexpected weather conditions which could permanently damage the fabric. When the woven base fabric is directly exposed to extreme humidity, wicking might occur. Wicking is the migration of water between the filaments of the fabric which results in fungal and bacterial growth. The phenomenon initially leads to poor esthetical appearances like yellowish, brown lines and stains all over the base fabric and at the seams. Worst case scenario is a drastic reduction of the physical performances leading to failure of the structure. Thanks to our vertical integration, all Sioen high tenacity polyester yarns and fabrics dedicated for textile architecture purposes undergo to our in house engineered low-wick ant capillary treatment, preventing wicking and safeguarding the mechanical properties. This treatment efficiently avoids all water, dirt and fungus absorption inside the fabric and ensures perfect and long lasting esthetics, minimal discoloration and uniform translucency.

Phthalate free

Unit: Text “Phthalate free”, under basic properties

Definition: Phthalates are esters of phthalic acid and are mainly used as plasticisers (substances added to plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability and longevity). They are used primarily to soften PVC.

Explication: Although long chain phthalates are considered harmless to the environment and to humans, restrictions are set up for their use in certain very specific applications such as children toys which can be mouthed.

Tear strength

Unit: N (Newton)

Norm: DIN 53363 or ISO 4764/1A

Definition: Tear strength (or tear resistance) is a measure of how well a material can withstand the propagation of a tear.

Explication: A high tear strength is of key importance in numerous applications. It is not only defined by the base fabric, but also by the composition of the coating and by the coating parameters. High tear strength forces can only be achieved by combining high quality base fabrics and a strictly defined coating process,

Translucency-light: Bright and consistent feelings

Unit: %

Definition: It is the physical property of allowing light to pass through the material without being scattered.

Explication: Light is undoubtedly an integral part of life. In architectural constructions, the duality of light and darkness is a challenge for each construction engineer and architect. A search for the right balance to evoke the sense of feeling or connection with the location as much as possible.
Textile architecture membranes offer the architects the exceptional advantage of combining structural design with the abundant presence of natural light. Due to its very high translucency an ambiance of a natural environment can be created.
Thanks to the uniform translucency, textile architecture membrane can be tuned towards special visual effects as communication or architectural lighting design.

(Pictures night illumination and day night effects, day translucency (swimming pool? Remove wrinkles)

The interior-exterior luminosity transforms the structure into a lighthouse or a signage structure, turning it into a nocturnal reference point.

The uniform translucency of Sioen’s architectural membranes is guaranteed through a consistent measurement of batch to batch color translucency deviation, setting the standard for a high quality end product.

Type (0, I, II, III, IV, V, VI)

Unit: Text e.g. “Type II” or “Type 2”

Definition: In textile architecture , membranes have been classified according to certain “types”, from type 1 to 5 depending on their tensile properties.

Explication: In tensile architecture, lower types are generally used for lightweight, small structures, whereas types 5 and 6 are considered to be the heavy duty, large surface applications.

UV Resistant

Unit: Text “UV resistant”

Definition: UV is the highly energetic (non visible) part of sunlight. Because of its high energy, UV is the most aggressive part of the solar spectrum. It can initiate a number of unwanted decomposition reactions.

Explication: UV resistance of a coating is determined by a number of factors, like quality, concentration and chemical nature of the binders, the plasticizers and the pigments. In order to further enhance the service life of a textile, extra UV absorbers can be added into the coating. These absorb UV and re-emit it in a lower energy state.