The man-made fibers amounts to nearly 70% of all the fibers produced in the world, and nearly 80% for European countries. This can amount to a total production of 65,000,000 tons per year. The most popular uses for these man-made fibers are in household textiles, carpets and clothing. Other uses include a variety of technical products, such as filling in cold weather clothing, conveyor belts, filtration systems and fire resistant materials.
Each of the fibers is precisely engineered to give the highest quality end result. Many of the fibers are used in combination with wool and cotton, and include two major forms: staple, discontinuous lengths and continuous filament. The staple, discontinuous lengths of fiber are easily transferred into yarn or used for other uses, such as non-woven or fillings. The continuous filament is a more practical material for the production of carpets, knitting or weaving.
Here are several of the common types of man-made fibers
The acetate fibers are a type of fiber that is created from cellulose acetate, which is a tasteless, odorless, and clean substance. It is originally sourced from the tree wood pulp and is a very environmentally friendly and natural product. This fiber is thermoplastic and is appreciated for its ability to absorb little water, easy to dye and can be textured. This type of fiber has a relatively high melting point of 300°C and its main uses relate to dress wear and linings. Acetate tow is also used in the production of cigarette filters.
There are a variety of fibers that are made using natural plant material such as polymer cellulose which is sourced from wood pulp. Viscose fiber is a very common type of cellulosic fiber and very versatile with its ability to avoid shrinking in heat and dyes easily. It is commonly used for clothing and regularly blended with other types of fibers. One common use is in hygienic disposable products because it has a high moisture ratings. Other uses include reinforcing high-speed tires because of its high thermal stability.
The elastane type of material is appreciated for its ability to fully recover after being stretched. Beyond the stretching and recovering properties of this fiber, it is also very useful for resisting cosmetic oils and perspiration, while also being very easy to dye and extremely washable. This type of fiber is often coated with another material to improve on abrasion resistance and increase bulk. Elastane is used for a wide range of garments that rely on fit and comfort. Typical items are likely to include stockings, elastic corsets, swimwear and leisure wear.