What exactly is camouflage fabric?

The first permanent unit of the British army was dressed in red uniforms. When the first permanent army was established in 1645, this hue was chosen. Rather, each army adopted a unique set of colours as their national colours. French soldiers tended to wear blue, Russians green, and British red. The British Army did not issue a Khaki uniform until the late 1800s, when they learned that drab colored clothing provides greater camouflage.

Camouflage fabric is used to conceal persons or equipment from adversaries. Camouflage fabric creates a one-of-a-kind effect on individuals or equipment by making them disappear or appear as though they are a part of the natural surroundings to enemy. To achieve this, the fabric or garment is dyed in patches of numerous colours, rendering the user unidentifiable in the surrounding environment.

Fabrics that are camouflaged are used:

  • To produce uniforms for officers and men in the armed forces.
  • To making armored vehicles and other equipment inconspicuous.
  • To protect planes, artillery, and boats.
  • For deception.
  • While building tents for living and storage.

Camouflage Textile Production Methods

The idea of producing fabrics that can be easily changed in color has long been anathema to textile colorists, for whom developing color permanence has been a key goal from the dawn of time. As a result, colorant makers have spent many years trying to develop quick colored materials by looking for dyes and pigments that are chemically inert and physically resistive once applied to a substrate.

The ways for creating camouflage fabric are as follows:

  1. pH shifts

As we know, molecules can change color considerably in the presence of acids and bases when the cloth is dipped into different polarity solvents. Because of this, a change in hue can occur owing to a change in polarity, but because of the reagents and solvents necessary to transport them, this method is exceedingly difficult to implement in applications.

  1. Changes in the oxidation state

The color of the fabric changes as the oxidation state changes. When we look at the oxidation states of copper, such as 0, +1, and +2, we may see distinct colours. This approach is likewise quite effective, but it necessitates ion migration. In solvents, the response time can be quick, but this complicates the device. Gel-type devices are potentially a possibility, although physical robustness, oxygen stability, and response times pose significant problems. A gadget is created on this idea, like a polymer LED.

  1. Bond forming/breaking

There are several systems available that go through reversible bond-breaking and bond-forming processes, resulting in color shifts. These processes are typically light initiated. For example, enol is colorless, but when the atoms are rearranged, the orange hue is observed for the cis form, but the red color is observed for the transform.

  1. Mechanochromism

Certain chemicals exhibit color changes as a function of applied stress, because this mechanochromic system is built via surface modification of conducting polymers. It simply operates based on receptor sensing.

  1. Effects of electric or magnetic fields

Some highly polarizable systems have been seen to change color in the presence of electric or magnetic fields. For example, if the solution is red, we can see the color change as we move the magnet closer to the solution, and the solution turns blue.

Camouflage Fabrics Used in Military Protective Clothing

Camouflage fabrics are primarily used in the Defence industry, with a tiny proportion of them being used in other industries such as the fashion clothes industry, for ornamental purposes, and so on. The following section discusses the use of camouflage fabric in military textiles:

Camouflage textiles have been used in military apparel for more than 75 years and were particularly popular following the operation Desert Storm in the Middle East by US Forces with NATO Alliances in 1990. Camouflage textiles are now used by most of the armed services, including the army, navy, air force, and paramilitary forces, because they raise the safety factor for each soldier, and the nature of the fabric improves the comfort level and roughness. It is expected that the overall global demand for camouflage fabrics will exceed 350 million meters per year.


The purpose of the uniform is not only to conceal and protect each soldier, but also to distinguish friend from foe. Camouflage uniforms must be produced and supplied to a big number of soldiers. Camouflage uniform design entails balancing camouflaging effect, recognizability, cost, and manufacturability.

Armies serving in different theatres of operations may require distinct camouflage uniforms. Camouflage suits for temperate/jungle and desert environments are widespread. Patterns can be applied to varied landscapes to some extent by attaching pieces of vegetation to the uniform. Helmets are frequently covered with netting, and some jackets include little loops for the same purpose. Finding good camouflage plants or otherwise modifying the supplied combat gear to suit the local terrain is thus a vital skill for infantry soldiers.

  1. Tented structures

Tents are made in the military to provide shelter in extreme cold conditions. To keep wetness at bay, the tent is stitched with a rubberized sheet at the base level. On one side, it is olive green, while on the other, it is white. As a result, it serves as the goal of camouflage in various scenarios. The camouflage cloth is used in this instance. The primary rationale for using camouflage textiles to build tents is that they blend in with nature and cannot be identified by enemies.

  1. Ballistic protection

It is critical to shield soldiers from bullets and other projectiles such as sharpnels, metal fragments, and flying debris of varying sizes, shapes, and velocity. Textile body armour may provide some protection against this. The manufacture of high strength fibres has advanced at a breakneck pace. Currently, aromatic polyamide fibres, like as Kevlar and Twaron, provide ballistic protection and are available in a variety of decitexes and finishes. For this aim, a variety of ultra-high modules polyethylene (UHMPE) fibres have been produced. Dyneema and Spectra fibres are commonly used. This is accomplished using camouflage fabric.

  1. Military bag

A military backpack, also known as a MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load Carrying Equipment), is specifically intended to allow a soldier to modify the quantity of equipment he or she carries. The contents of a MOLLE are comparable to those carried by a backpacker, although they differ depending on the soldier’s location, the length of the assignment, and the soldier’s objective.

  1. Tarpaulin

Camouflage tarps have several advantages. It is quite simple to install, and it provides great protection against inclement weather and inquisitive eyes. Their applications are comparable to those of military nets, although they have extremely distinct properties. The camouflage military tarpaulin is created from materials that dry rapidly, allowing it to be stored swiftly when needed. The camouflage cover is light and not bulky in nature. It is simple to attach to any form of support, whether natural or made for this purpose. Tarpaulins are made to be tough and resistant in nature, for military purposes, so that they can be safely protected.

Article By:

Ms. Kshipra Gadey