A mat is a generic term for a piece of fabric material, generally placed on a floor or other flat surface, which serves a range of purposes including:

  • providing a regular or flat surface, such as a cushioned computer mousepad.
  • protecting that which is beneath the mat, such as a place mat or the matting used in archival framing and preservation of documents and paintings.
  • protecting that which is above the mat, such as a wrestling or gymnastics mat, or an anti-vibration mat.
  • serving to clean items passed over it, such as a doormat, which cleans dirt from the soles of shoes.

In domestic settings:

  • A doormat, more frequently spelled door-mat, is a flat, usually rectangular object placed immediately outside or inside the entrance to a house or other building, to allow people to easily scrub or wipe the soles of their shoes before entering. Doormats are usually made from tough, long-lasting material such as coir, palmyra (palm) fibres and stalks, nylon, rubber, cloth, or aluminium and other metals. Doormats may also be known as welcome mats, as their location at an entrance constitutes a "welcome" to visitors, and may therefore also bear some word, message or sign of greeting. This in turn has given rise to a subculture of cartoons featuring characters returning home to find (to the reader) a humorous message on the doormat. The lowly purpose for which doormats exist has also led to informal use of the term as a reference to people who behave timidly or passively when exploited by others (see also Caspar Milquetoast).
  • A "cabinet mat" is a mat made of rubber, that protects kitchen cabinets, more particularly kitchen sink base cabinets, from leaks,water damage, mold and household item spills that commonly occur in the kitchen sink cabinet.
  • A bath mat is a device used on the floor of a bathroom to provide a warm non-slip surface, and to absorb small amounts of water, much like a towel.
  • Place mats or serving mats are flat piece of fabric or other type of material used on a table at the points at which dishes and plates will be located during a meal. One of the common purposes of such mats is to provide a thermal and physical barrier between that which is placed on the table, and the table itself—for instance, to stop hot objects from marring the table's finish.
  • Car mats are designed to help provide protection for a vehicle's carpeted floors. One major use of a car mat is to keep mud, sand and snow from contacting the carpeted floors. Some require fixation points to ensure they remain fixed in position. Carpet mats and rubber mats differ in a number of ways. Carpet mats are generally tufted and have a rubberised anti slip backing. On the other hand, rubber car mats are heavy duty and higher durability. While some car mats are the plain colour of rubber, many contain branded company logos, cartoon characters or advertisements. Some are in textile form of carpet material. They can also come in a wide range of colours. The terms universal and custom fit mats differentiate between floor mats that will fit a multitude of different cars and those that are specifically designed to fit only one chassis.
  • "Anti-fatigue mats" are designed to help a person who is working in a standing position for prolonged periods of time. Most anti-fatigue matting is a combination of an ergonomic pattern and a cushioning underlay. The cushioning causes constant subconscious balance checks and micro movements that stimulate blood flow through the legs and lower extremities. This results in better circulation and less fatigue. The cushioning underlay insulates the feet from the hard surface, cold floors, vibrations, moisture and sound. Their unique design encourages the user to make continual micro-movements which provides a wealth of health benefits, such as minimizing back pain, foot pain, weariness, stress, etc. Anti-fatigue mats are one of the approaches to prevent injuries, caused by working in a standing position. This type of mat is recommended by Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The range of common materials for manufacturing anti-fatigue mats includes vinyl, wood, pvc tubing, rubber, pvc closed cell foam, polypropylene, nitrile rubber. Anti-fatigue mats were initially used in factories and production lines where staff has to stand for the majority of their working shifts.

Anti-fatigue mats come in various types and materials for industrial or commercial applications for a variety of workplace conditions that exist as well as the variety of workplace designs from individual work benches, to large assembly lines or complex manufacturing work stations. Work place environments can vary from dry areas to wet or extremely oily areas. Plus specialized industries may need additional properties such as fire retardant matting for welding, static dissipative matting for Electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection, anti-microbial for food industry applications.

Today, this type of ergonomic mat is commonly used during trade shows for floor covering, in hospitals and clinics during surgeries to cover the floor near surgical tables to minimize surgeons fatigue resulted from continuous standing. Also these mats are used in housekeeping, especially for kitchen floors to alleviate fatigue during cooking.

  • Clean room mats are produced with the purpose to keep sterile the areas that require ultimate protection from dirt, bacteria and any contamination brought from outside. Clean room mats are tacky, sticky, non slip mats that possess multiple layers of clean film that effectively capture dirt and dust from foot traffic and wheels. Peel-off mats are made up of multiple sheets of polyethylene film coated with acrylic adhesive that traps particles. Each layer peels off to reveal a new clean surface. The adhesive backing prevents microbial growth and contamination. Mats used outside clean rooms and laboratories are designed to withhold foreign pollution elements. This goal is achieved by a sticky surface that serves as a barrier for debris, dirt and dust adhered to shoe soles. Clean room sticky mats can contain two defensive barriers: the first part is a carpet itself, while the second part is sticky surface mat. Another mat type to be used to protect rooms from pollution is sanitizing foot bath floor mats. The mat itself is a small bath that contains sanitizing liquid. The foot bath bottom is covered with pliable rubber scrapers for effective cleaning of footwear soles while the liquid disinfects them.

An alternative clean room mat is one made from polymeric material. Polymeric products are made from a blend of pure polymeric compounds and have a three- to five-year life cycle. When a polymeric surface becomes dirty, operators can clean it with a sponge and a mop with detergent. Finally, operators can dry the surface with a squeegee. This quick cleaning process can be incorporated into the facility’s regular wet-clean cycle.

The mats differ by composition:

  • one-piece mats are usually used on the permanent basis. One-piece mats can be handcrafted or factory-made. The standard shapes of one-piece mat are rectangular, square, round and elliptic. One-piece mats are produced in the huge variety of sizes and colors. Real and synthetic materials are used for one-piece mats production.
  • linear length mats, are manufactured as rolls that can extend 20 meters up to 40 meters for long production lines, assembly lines and packing lines. Mats are manufactured in standard lengths or factory-made to custom sizes.
  • modular mats, also well known as interlocking tiles or interlocking floor mats, are manufactured using the “jigsaw puzzle” structure. Unlike one-piece mat, modular mat consists of numerous elements that are easily and seamlessly assembled. Compared to other types of mats, interlocking mat has several sizes, depending on the amount of pieces in one kit. Modular mat is a good solution for non-rectangular areas where standard shape mat is helpless. Interlocking mat is commonly used on a one-time or temporary basis: fitness centres and sport competitions, trade shows and conferences. A Modular mat requires less place for storage and can be easily transported.

Other uses of the term mats include:

  • a mouse mat is a small flat mat used to provide a flat surface on which a computer mouse can be operated. (A mouse employing a ball which is driven by friction and which drives a x and y movement sensors requires a regular flat surface with high enough friction to drive the ball. The older optical mice—typically those from Sun Microsystems—required a mouse mat with a differentially reflecting grid.)
  • an anti-vibration mat is a mat which performs the function of isolating vibration between that which is above the mat and that which is below. Such a mat might typically be used when mounting a heavy machine which vibrates, onto a concrete floor; in the absence of the anti-vibration mat, the machine tend to erode the floor through abrasion. Contrawise, some machines, such as the lithography machines used in chip fabs, need to be isolated from vibrations in their locale, and so are mounted on anti-vibration mats.
  • a slipmat is a circular piece of slippery cloth or synthetic material designed to allow disc jockeys to turn or stop vinyl records on record players, or to scratch.
  • Chat-Mat is a recordable talking doormat that speaks messages when stepped on. Chat-Mat was invented in 1995 by Ralph Baer, the inventor of the first commercial video game system.
  • a bar mat (not beermat) is a rectangular piece of rubber or towelling material that is used to protect the counter top and/or soak up spilt drinks in a bar or pub.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mat

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