The development of plastic textile nonwoven fabric begain in the late 1940s and took off in the 1950s, and the textile industry began to develop nonwoven textiles for various commercial uses in the '60s. One major area in which manufacturers use these textiles is in the production of disposable diapers. Additionally, elastic nonwoven textiles are used in a variety of other products.
Battery separators, an important component of batteries, are made of elastic filter bag. Battery separators must have the ability to separate positive and negative electrodes; in addition, they should have electrical-insulating properties to prevent short circuiting. Moreover, battery separators should resist oxidation by the battery electrolyte. Polyolefin nonwovens find application in this type of usage since they have a high chemical resistance to most battery electrolytes. One negative is that separators made of polyolefins such as polyethylene and polypropylene are not easily gotten wet; manufacturers must make them "wettable" before they find use in battery separators.
Spunbonded polyester fabric nonwovens are used in electrical wire and cable insulation. As the electronic and optical cable industry has grown, so has the need for tapes made of elastic nonwovens to provide cable insulation. These tapes include add-ons in the form of superabsorbent powders to guard the cable against water seepage. Additionally, the potential exists to develop polypropelene for high-voltage cable insulation. Kraft paper has traditionally been used for this purpose, but this is not very effective at voltages higher than 345,000 volts; polypropylene may be more effective at this voltage level.
A fuel cell is an electrochemical device that produces electricity from an external power source. Elastic filter fabric have the potential for use in both the membrane and filtration systems of fuel cells. These fuel cells find use in automobiles since cars that use fuel cells are lighter than those with combustion engines and thus require less fossil fuel. Using fuel cell in cars is an environmentally friendly option that will likely experience greater demand as the world becomes more earth-conscious.