Properties and Possible Use of Man-made Fibres
Man-made fibres Fibres with (almost) unlimited possibilities
Continuous or cut
The most important processed man-made fibres are filament yarns and staple fibres. Filament yarns are endless single threads. The number of holes in the spinneret determines the number of filaments in the yarn.
Staple fibres are man-made fibres cut into specific lengths, which are spun, like cotton and wool, into spun yarns by the textile industry.
By applying pressure and heat, filament yarns can be permanently crimped or textured". This gives them a voluminous, bulky feel, improved insulation properties, better transport of body moisture and elasticity.
Man-made fibres can be combined very well, both with each other and also with natural fibres - and it is through this combination of source materials with varying properties that many textiles derive their real utility value.
From nature to textile diversity
Like natural fibres, man-made fibres are made up essentially of the following elements:
A distinction is made between cellulosic and synthetic man-made fibres. With cellulosic man-made fibres (e.g. viscose), cellulose from wood is used as the raw material. In the case of synthetic man-made fibres (e.g. polyamide, acrylic, polyester), the raw material is crude oil, which is chemically transformed.
The manufacturing process can be adapted to achieve specific properties in the final man-made fibres.
This means man-made fibres can be developed to meet certain functional requirements and end-uses. They may for example be thinner than silk, or have greater volume than wool, they may insulate against cold or keep cool, transport moisture, be bright or dull.
Comfort for our daily life
People today have demands that can only be satisfied with man-made fibres.
Polyamide and elastane, for instance, are the secret behind the good fit of tights
and leggings. No one would want to be without viscose in the summer now.
Membranes improve the properties of leisure and sportswear, while microfibres produce fabrics which are the finest possible, without becoming unstable.
Without man-made fibres it would be impossible to cover the needs of the world
population. In 2013 their share of world fibre production was 70%, equivalent to a
volume of 60,3 million tons.
Cellulosic man-made fibres
In 2013 5.9 million tons of cellulosic man-made fibres were produced worldwide.