What is Synthetic Fibre?
Synthetic fibres, also known as man-made or artificial fibres, are produced from chemical compounds rather than natural resources. Synthetic fibres are created using chemical processes and are engineered to have specific properties, such as durability, strength, resistance to wrinkling, and easy maintenance. Some common examples of synthetic fibres include polyester, nylon, and acrylic. They are widely used in a variety of industries, including textiles, clothing, and home furnishings. These fibres offer a number of advantages over natural fibres, including lower cost, easy care, and a range of colors and styles.
Properties / Characteristics of Synthetic Fibres:
Synthetic fibres have several unique properties that make them suitable for various applications. Here are the common properties of synthetic fibres:
a) Artificial origin: Synthetic fibres are man-made and do not occur naturally. They are produced from synthetic polymers, such as polyester, nylon, and acrylic, which are derived from petroleum and other chemicals.
b) Chemical composition: These fibres have a uniform chemical composition and structure, which gives them consistent properties and performance. They are made by extruding the polymer through small holes, which forms the fibres. The fibres are then spun into yarn and woven into fabric.
c) Durability: Synthetic fibres are often more durable than natural fibres, making them ideal for heavy-duty applications. They are resistant to wear and tear and can withstand harsh conditions and repeated use.
d) Strength: These fibres are known for their strength, which is usually greater than that of natural fibres. This property makes them suitable for use in products that require high strength, such as ropes, cords, and other industrial applications.
e) Elasticity: Synthetic fibres have a good stretch and recovery ability, which makes them ideal for use in elastic clothing and sportswear.
f) Wrinkle resistance: They are often resistant to wrinkling, which makes them popular for use in clothing and home furnishings. They retain their shape and form, even after multiple washings and wear.
g) Easy care: Synthetic fibres are often machine washable and quick-drying, which makes them easy to care for. This is an advantage over natural fibres, which often require special washing and care.
h) Weather resistance: These fibres are resistant to moisture, mildew, and UV radiation, making them suitable for outdoor applications. They are often used in products such as tents, tarps, and outdoor clothing.
i) Chemical resistance: These fibres are resistant to many chemicals, making them ideal for use in products that come into contact with chemicals, such as laboratory coats and protective clothing. They also have low flammability, which makes them safer for use in clothing and upholstery.
j) Versatility: Synthetic fibres come in a wide range of colors, styles, and textures, making them versatile for use in a variety of applications. They can be made to look like natural fibres, such as silk or wool, or to have their own unique texture and appearance.
k) Low cost: These fibres are generally less expensive to produce than natural fibres, making them more affordable for consumers. This makes them popular for use in products such as clothing, bedding, and home furnishings.
l) Hygiene: Synthetic fibres are non-allergenic and do not harbor bacteria or odors. This makes them suitable for use in products such as bedding and clothing for people with allergies or sensitivities.
m) Fast Drying: They dry quickly, which makes them easy to care for and suitable for use in products that require quick drying, such as towels and sportswear.
Overall, the properties of synthetic fibres make them ideal for a wide range of applications, from clothing and textiles to industrial and outdoor products.
Classification of Synthetic Fibres:
Synthetic fibres can be classified in 2 categories: based on their chemical composition and physical properties.
A. Synthetic fibres can be classified based on their chemical composition into the following categories:
- Polyamide fibres
- Polyester fibres
- Acrylic fibres
- Rayon fibres
- Polypropylene fibres
- Elastomeric fibres
- Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA) fibres
- Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) fibres
- Polyethylene fibres
B. Synthetic fibres can be classified based on their physical properties into the following categories:
- Continuous Filament fibres: These fibres are produced in long, continuous strands and can be further classified based on the number of filaments per fibre. They are strong and durable, and are often used in industrial and technical applications.
- Staple fibres: Staple fibres are produced in short lengths, and are often used in textiles and clothing. Staple fibres can be spun into yarns, which can be further processed into fabrics.
- Bulked Continuous Filament (BCF) fibres: These fibres are similar to continuous filament fibres, but have a crimped or bulked structure, making them soft and voluminous. They are often used in carpeting and upholstery applications.
- Textured fibres: Synthetic fibres have a surface texture that enhances their bulk and softness. They are often used in clothing, particularly in sportswear and activewear, as well as in upholstery and home furnishings.
- Microfiber: These are very fine fibres that have a high surface area to volume ratio. They are often used in technical and industrial applications.
Types of Synthetic Fibres:
1. Polyester: Polyester fibre is known for its durability, wrinkle-resistance, and quick-drying properties. It is commonly used in clothing, upholstery, and outdoor gear.
2. Nylon: A synthetic fibre known for its strength, elasticity, and abrasion-resistance. It is commonly used in clothing, carpets, and ropes.
3. Acrylic: It is soft, warmth, and ease of care. It is commonly used in clothing, blankets, and upholstery.
4. Polypropylene: This fibre is known for its lightweight, moisture-wicking, and fast-drying properties. It is commonly used in athletic wear, outdoor gear, and carpeting.
5. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC): PVC is used for its waterproof and weather-resistant properties. It is commonly used in rainwear, inflatable products, and upholstery.
6. Spandex (Elastane): Spandex is well known for its high stretch and recovery, making it ideal for form-fitting clothing and athletic wear.
7. Acetate: A synthetic fibre known for its smooth, lustrous feel and drape. It is commonly used in clothing, linings, and upholstery.
8. Olefin: A synthetic fibre known for its moisture-resistance, durability, and lightweight properties. It is commonly used in outdoor gear, carpeting, and upholstery.
9. Rayon (Viscose): A synthetic fibre made from natural cellulose that mimics the feel and drape of silk and cotton. It is commonly used in clothing, linings, and upholstery.
10. Polyamide (Nylon): It is known for its strength, elasticity, and abrasion-resistance. It is commonly used in clothing, ropes, and outdoor gear.
Uses / Application of Synthetic Fibres:
Synthetic fibres have a wide range of applications due to their unique properties and versatility. Here are some of the key applications in detail:
1. Textiles: Synthetic fibres are widely used in the textile industry due to their durability, resistance to wrinkling, staining, and fading. Examples of commonly used synthetic fibres in textiles include polyester, nylon, and spandex. These fibres are used in a variety of clothing, upholstery, and linens, and are popular for their low cost and ease of maintenance. Polyester, for example, is widely used in the production of sportswear, outdoor clothing, and casual wear due to its lightweight and quick-drying properties.
2. Industrial Applications: These fibres are used in various industrial applications due to their strength and durability. They are commonly used in the production of ropes, cables, and composites, as well as in concrete reinforcement in the construction industry. Aramid fibres, such as Kevlar, are used in bulletproof vests and other protective clothing, due to their high strength and resistance to cutting and abrasion.
3. Sports Equipment: These fibres are used in sporting goods such as tennis rackets, fishing lines, and ski ropes for their strength and resistance to stretching. For example, tennis rackets made with synthetic fibres offer improved strength and responsiveness compared to those made with natural fibres.
4. Medical Applications: These fibres are used in medical implants, sutures, and wound dressings for their biocompatibility and non-reactivity with human tissue. For example, sutures made with synthetic fibres offer improved strength and resistance to infection compared to those made with natural fibres.
5. Automotive Applications: Synthetic fibres are used in automotive parts such as seat belts, airbags, and tire reinforcement for their strength and ability to withstand high stress. For example, seat belts made with synthetic fibres offer improved strength and protection in the event of a collision.
6. Packaging: These fibres are used in packaging materials such as polypropylene bags, due to their durability and resistance to moisture and punctures. For example, food packaging made with synthetic fibres offers improved preservation of freshness and protection against contamination.
7. Home Textile: Synthetic fibres are used in home decor such as carpets, rugs, and curtains for their durability and resistance to staining and fading. For example, carpets made with synthetic fibres offer improved durability and resistance to wear and tear compared to those made with natural fibres.
- Synthetic Fibres: Nylon, Polyester, Acrylic, Polyolefin Edited by J. E. McIntyre
- Textile Engineering – An Introduction Edited by Yasir Nawab
- Handbook of Textile Fibres: Man-Made Fibres By J Gordon Cook
- Reference Book for Man-Made Fibres By Cesare Andreoli and Fabrizio Freti
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