Fabrics: Man-made and micro fibers

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Man-made Fibers

For thousands of years, natural fibers were the only materials available for the creation of fabric. Then, in the middle of the nineteenth century, scientists began to experiment with the production of “artificial silk” from regenerated cellulose. The resulting fiber, rayon, heralded a new era for the textile industry. Rapid developments have greatly increased the number and refined the properties of man-made fibers, which have become indispensable in the contemporary world.

Each type of man-made fiber has a generic name, such as nylon or polyester. in turn, fiber producers have trademarks or brand names for the various fibers they manufacture. Often a fiber producer has several trademarks for one fiber indicating one or more variations in its manufacture.

The chemical complexities of man-made fibers are endless, but one of the distinctions among them is the fact that some fibers are derived from natural materials such as cellulose or protein, while others are completely synthesized or developed from basic chemical sources. In either case, the production involves similar steps. A chemical solution is formed that contains the basic components of the fiber. The solution is forced through the tiny holes of a spinneret into a chemical-coagulating bath or air chamber that hardens the substance into filament form. A continuous "rope" of unlimited length is produced, and goes on to be textured and processed. The same solution can produce filaments with varying properties, depending on the size and shape of the holes in the spinneret and the nature of the hardening procedure.

Great advances have been made in the development of man-made fibers since their inception. Today, man-made fibers can be engineered specifically to impart the performance feature required by the end use of the fabric.

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Micro Fibers

These manufactured fibers are much thinner than normal fibers. Micro fibers can be made of nylon, polyester, acrylic and rayon. Used on their own, the fabric hand becomes softer and the fabric drapes better. Micro fibers can blended with natural fibers or other manufactured fibers and still have the same characteristics, If a large percentage of micro fiber is used in a blend, then the fabric takes on a silk-like texture and hand. Since the wicking effect is greatly improved from other fibers, it’s often used in fabrics for athletic apparel.
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This page was last modified on: Tuesday, 2007-09-11 2:46 PST