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Manufacturing of Flame Resistant (FR) Combat Printed Nonwoven Material


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes

OBJECTIVE: To manufacture large scale production run of Flame Resistant (FR) combat printed nonwoven base uniform material for wear test trial on one specific combat item such as the main body fabric of the combat shirt. (Basic material A of GL-PD-10- 02E; Shirt Combat, Flame Resistant dated 19 March 2015).

DESCRIPTION: Except for limited knitted material constructions, all of the military clothing is constructed of woven type materials since the inception of the US military. Nonwoven type constructions for clothing applications are relatively new. Recent developments demonstrate that they are a viable alternative to woven constructions for some military applications with a potential material cost savings of up to 25 percent. Generally, woven based materials require as much as 15 processing steps during manufacturing as compared to only 5 steps for nonwoven manufacturing. Additionally, there are numerous nonwoven manufacturing processing options such as needle-punching, hydroentanglement (HE), melt-blown processing, ultrasonic bonding, Spun-bonding or combination of each to provide unique functional characteristics to the material. Nonwoven materials possess inherent mosquito (vector) protection due to the torturous path characteristic of how the fibers are arranged in the material.

PHASE I: During this research and development phase the contractor shall demonstrate scientific approach feasibility by providing the following:

  • A minimum of three viable solutions for a 5.2-5.9 ounces per square yard shirt weight FR nonwoven material, minimum bursting strength of 25 lbs., minimum air permeability of 240 CFM, dimensional stability of 1.0/-7.0 % after 5 washing cycles, maximum after flame of 2 sections, maximum afterglow of 15 seconds, and maximum char length of 5 inches after 25, 50 and 100 laundering cycles.
  • The best performing materials would be down selected for preparation into a Phase II full manufacturing run.

PHASE II: Based on the results from Phase I, the best material candidates would be selected for large manufacturing and prototype demonstration capability as follows:

    • Provide a minimum of 750 linear yards, 60 inch wide, flame resistant (FR) nonwoven material, OCP camouflage printed, water-repellent treated and enhanced hand and drapeability comparable to Basic material A of GL-PD-10-02E; Shirt Combat, Flame Resistant dated 19 March 2015.


    • Full verification lab testing for physical properties and FR will need to be performed (vertical flame and thermal manikin tests) as applicable on each material type.


  • Upon verification of both physical and FR properties. A minimum of 100 Army combat shirts in the standard sizing tariff shall be provided as a deliverable to the PM for user evaluations.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Nonwovens offer a vast opportunity for both military and commercial applications in numerous lines of outdoor clothing. For military applications: combat uniforms of all types, i.e., combat vehicle crewman (CVC), uniforms for pilots, ground troops, and other protective items such as coveralls (Navy is currently testing a protective coverall for shipboard welding). For commercial applications: hunting uniforms, utility work clothing, disposable clothing and super low cost FR and non-FR children’s wear. This product would also be ideal for children/adults living in Africa and Philippines who face the threat of disease borne mosquitoes because the nonwoven fabrics provide some vector protection due to their fiber construction properties.











KEYWORDS: Nonwovens, Water-Repellent (WR), Hydroentangled (HE), Spunbonded, Flame Resistance (FR), Combat uniforms

  • TPOC-1: David Querim
  • Phone: 508-233-4313
  • Email:
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