The What, How and Why of Man-Made Fibres

Man-made, or synthetic, fibres have been with us for some eighty years now. They are all around us and very much part of our daily life. They are being used increasingly in textile floor coverings, replacing natural fibres whose position in the flooring industry seemed unassailable not so very long ago.

But how familiar are we with these now-essential materials? How much do we know? What raw material are they made of? What are the key chemical “building blocks” that, put in the right sequence in the molecular structure of the filaments, have spawned such a diversity of end-uses for the products that contain these fibres?

Do you know the difference between linear, branched, and network polymers? Has anybody ever asked you what the difference is between HDPE and LDPE?

There is a technical report in the International Textile Flooring Academy’s (ITFA) Library that answers these questions. It can be found in the Library’s Technical Publications Section under Man-Made. It’s called Introduction to Man-Made Fibres. It was researched by J. Preston, Senior Research Scientist, Research Triangle Institute, Research Triangle Park, NC, USA, and co-editor of Handbook of Fiber Science and Technology (vol. 3). Introduction to Man-Made Fibres was made available for publication by courtesy of Britannica Online Encyclopaedia.

It delves into the Chemical composition and molecular structure, the processing and fabrication through spinning, drawing and texturing. Did you know that there are, in fact, five different ways to make a synthetic fibre? And four different texturing systems?

This document should be essential reading for all who develop with, manufacture with, market or sell synthetic carpets or rugs.

And you know what? It’s free to download by anyone who enrols into the Academy. For individual Students this is only £50. Staff of ITFA’s Corporate or Affiliate Members get this one for free!