Advantages and Limitations of Various Synthetic Fibres

Last updated on August 8th, 2023 at 11:47 pm

The properties of a fabric depend primarily on the properties of the fibres from which they are made. Hence familiarity with the characteristic properties of a fibre will aid the consumer in knowing what to expect of different fabrics and what care is required in maintaining them.

Synthetic Fibres

Viscose or Rayon

Advantages

  • Viscose rayon is suitable for wide range of fabrics from lightweight luxury types that drape well to heavy, strong, durable types that are stiff and crisp.
  • It can be dyed easily with all the dyes that take on to cellulosic fibres.
  • It blends well with other fibres.
  • It is very absorbent.
  • It can be given a variety of finishes.
  • It can be laundered or dry-cleaned, depending on the dye used or the finish given.
  • It can be bleached with chlorine bleaches but peroxide bleach is preferable.

Limitations

  • Fibres are weaker than cotton and weaker still when wet.
  • Abrasion resistance is poor.
  • Fabrics wrinkle easily because of the poor resiliency of the fibres.
  • Fabrics have very poor dimensional stability due to progressive shrinkage of the fibres.
  • Rayon is susceptible to mildew.
  • It is damaged more easily than cotton by mineral acids.
  • Fabrics require low ironing temperature.

Polynosic Fibres

Advantages

  • Fabric possesses better strength than viscose or rayon.
  • Dimensional stability of the fabric is good.
  • Abrasion resistance is better than that of viscose rayon.
  • Fabrics may be crisp and firm with good drapability.
  • Fabrics are absorbent.
  • Fabrics are good conductors of heat, hence are good for summer.
  • Their luster is subdued resembling that of silk.
  • Polynosics can be given resin treatment for wrinkle resistance without any loss in strength.
  • Fibres/Fabrics can be dyed and printed like cotton.
  • Fabrics are easy to launder and can also be dry-cleaned.

Limitations

  • Fabrics are weakened by sunlight.
  • Fibre has poor resiliency.
  • Fabrics require low ironing temperatures.
  • Polynosics are susceptible to mildew.

Acetate

Advantages

  • Fabrics have a luxurious soft feel and silky appearance.
  • Acetate has excellent draping qualities.
  • Since the fibres are thermoplastic durable surface effects like embossing, schreinering, moireing, cireing can be given to the fabric.
  • It can be dyed with disperse dyes or it can be dope dyed. Dope dyed fabrics have excellent fastness to light, crocking, perspiration, washing and gas-fading.
  • Fabrics are unaffected by mildew or moth.
  • It can be bleached with hydrogen peroxide or sodium perborate at low temperatures.

Limitations

  • Acetate fabrics have poor absorbency.
  • They are weak when wet.
  • Acetate has poor abrasion resistance.
  • Fabrics build up static electricity.
  • Fibre dissolves in acetone and acetic acid.
  • Fibre weakens on exposure to sunlight.
  • It requires special dyes.

Nylon

Advantages

  • Nylon is very strong even when wet.
  • It is resilient and elastic.
  • Fabrics are dimensionally stable.
  • It is unaffected by alkalis.
  • It has excellent abrasion resistance.
  • Fabrics are unaffected by mildew and moths.
  • Fabrics can be heat-set to retain pleats.
  • It resists water-borne stains.
  • It washes easily and dries quickly.
  • The fabric may be either laundered or dry-cleaned and can be bleached or treated with fluorescent brighteners.
  • Fabrics need little or no ironing.

Limitations

  • Fabrics are damaged by sunlight.
  • Fabrics build up static electricity.
  • Fabrics absorb oil and oily soils. Oil stains are difficult to remove.
  • Nylon melts in fire.
  • Fabrics made from staple fibre tend to pill. This mars the surface appearance.
  • White nylon tends to pick up dyes and soils in laundering.
  • Low ironing temperature is required.

Polyester

Advantages

  • Polyester fabrics are very strong.
  • Fabrics are wrinkle resistance.
  • Fabrics have good dimensional stability.
  • Polyester has high abrasion resistance.
  • It can be texturized.
  • Fabric can be heat-set to retain pleats or creases.
  • Fabrics have excellent wash and wear characteristics. They show smooth drying properties.
  • Polyester can be laundered or dry-cleaned.
  • It can be bleached.
  • It can be dyed with disperse dyes.
  • Fabrics are resistant to moth and mildew.
  • Polyester blends well with other fibres to increase the wrinkle resistance, of the other fibre and its wash and wear properties.

Limitations

  • Polyester staple fibre fabrics tend to pill.
  • They build up static charge.
  • They have low absorbency.
  • They have poor affinity for dyes.
  • They have an affinity for oily soil and oil borne stains.
  • Polyester melts in fire.
  • Polyester can withstand moderate ironing temperatures.

Acrylic/Modacrylic

Advantages

  • Fabrics are light in weight and have a pleasant feel.
  • Have good bulking properties.
  • Can be heat-set for dimensional stability and for pleat retention.
  • Fabrics have good wrinkle resistance.
  • Show warmth characteristics similar to that of wool.
  • Resistant to acids, alkalis and bleaches.
  • Apparel can be easily laundered or dry-cleaned.
  • Have good resistance to weathering and microbial attack.

Limitations

  • Fabrics have low absorbency.
  • Fabrics build up static electricity.
  • Fabrics may pill depending on yarn construction.
  • They are prone to retaining oil stains.
  • Melt and decompose in fire.

You may also like: Advantages and Limitations of various Natural fibres

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He is Abu Sayed, the founder of the blog site Textile Apex. He is a Textile Engineer having eight years plus practical experience in the Textile and Clothing industries. With a deep love for fashion and a keen eye for detail, he combines his creative flair with extensive knowledge to offer insightful and engaging content to his readers.
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