Synthetic fibre properties

Table of main synthetic fibres and their properties.

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Preview of Synthetic fibre properties

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Synthetic Fibres
Polyester Nylon Acrylic
Warmth Not warm to wear, but can Good conductor of heat, Fibres are generally
be blended with other no natural warmth so the staple form which
fibres like wool to give it fibre needs to be bulked, improves warmth.
warmth. crimped or brushing the
Resilience Particularly resistant. Very resilient, does not Soft to handle and
Requires little ironing and crease, springs back into lighter than wool. Shed
resists stretching so shape, little ironing and is creases easily, fairly
garments keep their quite elastic. Easy care elastic and take body
shape. Not as elastic as fabric. shape well.
nylon. Holds pleats
Absorbency Not only is polyester Not absorbent and dries Has a low moisture
nonabsorbent it is also very quickly. Not suitable uptake so washes
hydrophobic. Dries even for clothes worn next to easily and dries well.
quicker than nylon. Does the skin as it doesn't When knitted loosely
not absorb stains and is allow moisture to escape. like aertex the fabric
easy to launder. Because construction allows
polyester is so dry it can moisture to leave the
become electro statically body so garment
charged and picks up remains comfortable to
dirt. Should be rinsed in wear.
fabric softener after
Washing Very easy to care for. As nylon is not absorbent, Easy washing and
Should be washed at it does not soil easily quick drying. Acrylic
40°C. Drying is extremely marks wash off in normal can stretch if left warm
quick and ironing wash. 40°C wash, cold and moist so rinse them
minimized. rinse, spin or drip dry. in cold water before
spin drying.
Effect of Polyester melts at a Melts at 250°C, resilient Iron on a low
higher temperature than fibre does not require temperature as higher
Heat nylon. Iron on low setting much pressing. If you are temperatures will cause
if required. to iron needs to be ironed the fabric to stick to the
on a low temperature. iron.
This is a thermoplastic
fibre so anything higher
could cause permanent
Strength Very strong and resists
rubbing well. So strong it
Very strong, even though
light in weight. Wetting
Stronger than wool but
not as strong as nylon
is used for safety belts in does not affect its or polyester. Slight
cars. strength. tendency to pile where
the fabric is rubbed.
Flammability Burns readily. Shrinks Nylon does not burn it Acrylics will burn then
away from the flame. As it melts. melt. Shrinking and
melts at a higher melting forming a hard
temperature than nylon it roughly shaped black
is slower to melt. Flame is bead. Aromatic smell is
luminous with dark present.
Dyeing Does not take dye well. Although it is
nonabsorbent it takes
dyes very well. The colour
is added during
manufacture, at the wet
polymer stage
Blending Useful to blend nylon with
other fibres to give the
other fibre strength from
nylon and to obtain a
quality that another fibre


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