Uses -

Charts from 2002
Global production of manufactured fibres was 36.0million
metric tons in 2002, an increase of 155%from the 14.1 million
tons produced in 1982. Over the past twenty years synthetic
types, e.g. polyester, have shown strong long-term growth,
while cellulosics have declined. Synthetics now account for
94% of worldwide production.
Crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid found in rock formations in the
earth consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular
weights, plus other organic compounds. A hydrocarbon is a compound that consists
of carbon and water.
Its the organic compounds that form the monomers used for plastics and fibres.
All synthetic fibres are produced using
polymers from petroleum based chemicals
or coals. These polymers start out as
monomers and are joined together to
create polymers. Depending on which is
used their properties differ.
Excellent study resource- All you need to know
and much more!
The Trolleymer
A monomer is an organic compound used to make a chain of polymers.
There are two ways in which synthetic
polymerization takes place. These are:
•Addition polymerisation
•Condensation Polymerisation
( monomers that create a by product such
as polyester and polyamide)
Polymerization of
A polymer is a high-molecular-weight
organic compound, natural or manmade, consisting of many repeating
simpler chemical units or molecules
called monomers.
Examples of natural polymers are
proteins (polymer of amino acids) and
An example of synthetic polymer is
PVC (a polymer of vinyl chloride).
Elastomerics are made from polyurethane via the process of polyaddition. That means that
monomers are joined without creating a by-product. It was first discovered in the 1940’s
and was used in combination with nylon to create the first lightweight stretch garments. It
was replacing rubber and it is widely used for upholstery, carpets and even bedding.
Why do elastomerics stretch and recover shape?
The polymer chain is a segmented block copolymer
containing long, randomly coiled, liquid, soft segments
that move to a more linear structure. The hard segments
act as “virtual cross-links” that tie all the polymer chains
together into an infinite network. This network prevents
the polymer chains from slipping past each other and
taking on a permanent set or draw. When the stretching
force is removed, the linear soft segments move back to
the preferred randomly coiled causing the fibre to recover
to its original shape and length.
1. The basic polyurethane you are most likely to encounter in
foam for furniture or filling for bedding it can also be used
for waterproof coatings, imitation leather and suede.
2. Elastane, Spandex and Lycra are the same family of fibre
produced by different companies.
1. A manufactured elastomeric fibre that can be
repeatedly stretched over 500% without breaking,
and will still recover to its original length.
2. It is made from a long-chain synthetic polymeric
Only 3% of this elastomer is necessary to have
these amazing stretch capabilities. The rest can be
made from another fibre.
3. It is lightweight and flexible. It resists deterioration
from perspiration,
detergent and body oils. It is characterized by its
strength and durability.
4. Main uses are athletic wear and foundation
5. It is usually woven but of cause it can also be
Spandex firsts outing!
Fluorofibres are developed via polymerization of
tetrafluoroethylene gas, an organic compound of
crude oil.
It has the highest density of any organic fibre.
Properties of Fluorofibres:
•It’s a fine micro-fibre that has fibre optic and
translucent qualities.
•Non stick
•Resistant to heat up to 215 degrees celsius starts
to decompose at 300
• chemicals and solvents
Uses of TEFLON® fibre:
•The ease of processing our fibres
makes it the perfect choice for
sewing threads where UV resistance
is required.
•Non stick surfaces
•The temperature and chemical
resistance make TEFLON® the perfect
replacement for asbestos fibre and
protective garments for the metal
•They are also used as fishing tackle.
•High performance sportswear
(usually around 15%
• It’s a fire-resistant fibre. For this
reason, special garments, such as
components of the clothing used by
space shuttle crews for extravehicular activities.
New Patented application in a fabric:
It is used to produce a lightweight protective
garment made of a fabric having an exterior
surface that readily sheds molten metal splash and
sparks, resists burn-through caused thereby and
exhibits improved dimensional heat stability. The
fabric is made from woven or knit spun
fluoropolymer staple yarn.
Polyamides are made via condensation
polymerisation. The compound used is
polyethylene. This type of polymerisation
is called step-growth polymerization.
Monomers with two reactive ends join to
form dimers (two “parts” joined together),
then “trimers” (three “parts”), and so on.
However, since each of the newly formed
oligomers (short chains containing only a
few parts) also has two reactive ends, they
can join together; so a dimer and a trimer
would form a pentamer (five repeating
“parts”). In this way the chains may
quickly great length achieve large size.
Trade names are Nylon and Polyester or
simply Polyamide.
Nylon Characteristics
•Exceptionally strong
•Abrasion resistant
•Easy to wash
•Resistant to damage from oil and many chemicals
•Can be pre-colored or dyed in wide range of colors
•Low in moisture absorbency
•Filament yarns provide smooth, soft, long-lasting fabrics
•Spun yarns lend fabrics light weight and warmth
Some Major Nylon Fiber Uses
•Apparel: Blouses, dresses, foundation
garments, hosiery, lingerie, underwear,
raincoats, ski apparel, windbreakers, swimwear,
and cycle wear
•Home Furnishings: Bedspreads, carpets,
curtains, upholstery
•Industrial and Other Uses: Tire cord, hoses,
conveyer and seat belts, parachutes, racket
strings, ropes and nets, sleeping bags,
tarpaulins, tents, thread, monofilament fishing
line, dental floss
General Nylon Fiber Care Tips
•Most items made from nylon can be
machine washed and tumble dried at low
temperatures. Use warm water and add
a fabric softener to the final rinse cycle.
•Remove articles from dryer as soon as
tumbling cycle is completed.
•If ironing is required, use warm iron.
(For specific care instructions, refer to
garment's sewn-in care label.)
Polyester is also derived from the compound polyethylene
terephthalate or simply called PET, via step-growth
polymerization. It is melt spun and can be recycled. Many
polyester based plastic bottles are used to make catanonia fleece
used in high performance sportswear.
Polyester Fibre Characteristics
•Resistant to stretching and shrinking
•Resistant to most chemicals
•Quick drying
•Crisp and resilient when wet or dry
•Wrinkle resistant
•Mildew resistant
•Abrasion resistant
•Retains heat-set pleats and crease
•Easily washed
•Low heat resistance
Some Major Polyester fibre Uses
Apparel: Every form of clothing
Home Furnishings: Carpets, curtains,
draperies, sheets and pillow cases, wall
coverings, and upholstery
Other Uses: hoses, power belting, ropes and
nets, thread, tire cord, auto upholstery, sails,
floppy disk liners, and fiberfill for various
products including pillows and furniture
General Polyester fibre care tips
Most items made from polyester can be
machine washed and dried. Use warm
water and add a fabric softener to the
final rinse cycle. Machine dry at a low
temperature and remove articles as soon
as the tumbling cycle is completed.
If ironing is desired, use a moderately
warm iron.
Most items made from polyester can be
dry-cleaned. (For specific instructions,
refer to garment's sewn-in care label.)
In percentages how much does the worldwide
production of synthetics accounts for ?
Which part of the crude oil is used for fibre
The organic compounds
What is a monomer?
What is a polymer?
Elastomerics are made from which organic
Give three trade names for elastomeric
How far, in percentages can elastomerics be
stretched without fibre breakage?
A monomer is an organic compound used to make
a chain of polymers.
A polymer is a high-molecular-weight organic
compound, natural or man-made, consisting of
many repeating simpler chemical units or
molecules called monomers.
Lycra, Spandex, Elastane
Elastomerics have soft and hard segments.
Which one accounts for the stretch qualities?
What are the main uses of elastomerics?
The randomly coiled, liquid, soft segments
Sportswear and foundation garments
At what percentage are elastane fibres used
when blended with another fibre?
Up to 3%
Polyurethane can be used as coating for
furniture, clothes and swimming pools, why?
It is waterproof
Fluorofibres are an organic compound of
crude oil. What is the compound called and
the polymers formed?
What makes fluorofibres so unique?
Which trade name are fluorofibres also
It’s called tetrafluoroethylene gas and is
formed via polymerization
They have the highest density of any organic
compound fibre.
Polyolefin's are made from the organic
compound polyethylene (just like polyester) or
polypropylene. However they do not look the
same and are used differently! WHY?
The compound is put together with another
one such as butene or ocyene which are
both gases. Then a metallocene catalyst is
added. Normally the polyethylene fibre is
sturdy and rigid (as in polyester). Here the
structure is disturbed by the catalyst
creating polymers with higher elasticity.
Butene is a colourless gas that is
present in crude oil as a minor
constituent in quantities that are too
small for viable extraction. It is
therefore obtained by catalytic
cracking of long chain hydrocarbons
left during refining of crude oil.
Method of Production
The molten polymer is extruded, with the
addition of additives to improve its properties,
as long lengths of flat strapping. Special drawing
techniques give the high strength and tenacity
needed by the product.
Strapping is used for packaging industrial
products, often compressing them in order to
reduce their bulk.
Extruded molten polypropylene (PP) or
polyethylene (PE) filaments are collected on to a
moving belt, which are then immediately
transformed into a nonwoven fleece by thermal
They are produced by blowing high velocity air
through molten polymer, spraying discontinuous
very fine fibres on to a moving belt. The fibres
are immediately transformed into a nonwoven
fleece by thermal treatment.
As per usual!
Properties :
• Both polyolefin fibres have a lower
density and are therefore thicker than
other man-made fibres and give more
cover. PP can also be produced as a very
fine fibre!
• They do not absorb moisture, which is
an advantage in many end-uses, but
without modification,
• They cannot be dyed.
• Their melting points are around 130 °C
for polyethylene and 160 °C for
• They have a high resistance to chemical
attack and
• Modern polypropylene fibres have a
high resistance to UV degradation.
Intermediate Bulk
Containers (FIBCs)
Carpet backing
Furnishing &
PP or PE
Artificial Grass
PP or PE
Ropes & Nets
Agro Textiles
PP or PE
Geo Textiles
PP or PE
Uses of Polypropylene in Apparel & Sportswear
• Socks and performance sportswear, where PP
woven or knitted fabric has the capability to
transport perspiration from the skin to the outer
surface, where it evaporates. The garment itself
remains dry and comfortable, and retains its
insulation properties in cold climates.
• PP is also now penetrating other apparel
markets, using very fine multifilament with
attractive appearance and touch.
Aramid fibres are made from the
organic compound polyethylene and
belong to the family of polyamides.
Aramid fibres are very strong. Much
Polyolefin’s. Imagine a fabric
stronger than a wetsuit or a heavy
duty outdoor nylon or Polyester
coat. They have been around since
the 1970’s but are becoming
increasingly engineered and create a
wide variety of end uses.
Kevlar Chemical Structure
They are fibres in which the
chain molecules are highly
oriented along the fibre axis, so
the strength of the chemical
bond can be exploited.
How is a Kevlar vest made?
A bulletproof vest consists of a panel, a vest-shaped sheet
of advanced plastics polymers that is composed of many
layers of either Kevlar, Spectra Shield. The layers of woven
Kevlar are sewn together using Kevlar thread, while the
nonwoven Spectra Shield is coated and bonded with
resins and then sealed between two sheets of
polyethylene film.
The panel provides protection but not much comfort. It is
placed inside of a fabric shell that is usually made from a
polyester/cotton blend or nylon. The side of the shell
facing the body is usually made more comfortable by
sewing a sheet of some absorbent material onto it. It may
also have nylon padding for extra protection. For
bulletproof vests intended to be worn in especially
dangerous situations, built-in pouches are provided to
hold plates made from either metal or ceramic bonded to
fiber glass. Such vests can also provide protection in car
accidents or from stabbing.
Various devices are used to strap the vests on. Sometimes
the sides are connected with elastic webbing. Usually,
though, they are secured with straps of either cloth or
elastic, with metallic buckles or velcro closures.
Kevlar® is the brand name and
describes a fabric so strong it is
bullet proof
Properties of Aramid Fibres such as
 High strength
Flame & chemical resistant
Flexible & comfortable
5X stronger than steel
Further uses of Kevlar®:
Equipment used for high risk
activities like hot air ballooning
High tension cables and robes
for bridges, ships or space
Gloves that protect hands and
fingers against cuts and other
Strong lightweight skis, helmets
and tennis racquets
Industrial end uses like tyres, car
hoses, aircraft structures and
Nomex® is another brand name for an
aramid fibre which is resistant to high
Police & armed forces
Fire fighters
High risk sports
Protective overalls, head
Underwear to protect
drivers and mechanics
from flames and heat
Heat & flame resistant
Anti static
Low shrinkage
Easy care
Good aesthetic qualities
Resistant to most industrial oils,
solvents & chemicals
Dyes easily
Ed Thomas, the R&D VP of BBA Fiberweb provided
a wake-up call. Simple arithmetic showed that
with current oil consumption at 28 billion
barrels/day and rising, and with only a trillion
barrels of known reserves, it would run out by
2040. Cheap polypropylene, the workhorse raw
material of the nonwovens industry will be extinct
long before then because propane/propylene will be
more valuable in other uses. 93% of oil is used to
provide fuel for transport and heating, only 7%
going to petrochemicals.

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