Glossary of surface technology


Surface finish is a general term for the process step that represents the final surface treatment, for example to smooth it out. Mechanical methods, coating processes or physical processes such as plasma can be used. In connection with textile structures, the term ‘finish’ refers to the surface coating of the textile threads or the entire textile structure, i.e. the fabric. Since the finish can be used to achieve different purposes, it comprises various substances. If the textile structure is the reinforcement material for fibre composites, the finish is an adhesion-promoting substance which improves the bonding of the matrix material. Otherwise, the finish can for example be a material with semi-permeable properties, such as a polyurethane which allows water molecules to pass but blocks water in its liquid state. In textile technology, an overlapping of two terms is to be found:

  • Sizing: Fibre coat to improve spinning and weaving properties. Sizing usually is a surface coat applied to increase smoothness of the yarn. Sizing can be used as finish at the same time, but it can also be removed (e.g. by a chemical solution) and replaced by another finish. 
  • Finish: Final coating of a fibre structure at the end of the manufacturing process. May be identical with the sizing.
  • Textile finishing: Treatment of textiles to generate special characteristics such as crease resistance, hydrophobic properties, dyes, gloss etc.

A process very widely used in textile technology for surface treatment is coating with silanes, which can serve different purposes depending on the type of silane, for example adhesion promotion for subsequent printing or hydrophobing of the fabric. By means of plasma treatment, textile and yarn surfaces can be functionalised in a variety of ways, including silane coating. Diener electronic has considerable experience in the continuous treatment of textile materials.

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