Tag Archives: Chemistry

11 Kinds of Synthetic Fibers that we use in our Daily life.

Synthetic fibers are polymers made from small units joined together through chemical synthesis. The chemical synthesis of synthetic fibers involves polymerization. Polymerization is the process of combining monomer units to make a long chain or polymer. Here, I have put together a list of 11 synthetic fibers that we use in our daily life.

Rayon

Rayon is a synthetic fiber but is made from a natural source. It is obtained from purified cellulose through the chemical treatment of wood pulp. It was first developed in 1894 by English chemist Charles Frederick Cross.

Rayon fabric is soft, smooth, shiny, cool, comfortable, and highly absorbent. These properties are similar to that of silk, but rayon is cheaper than silk. Hence, rayon is sometimes called poor man’s silk.

rayon-sewing-threadsA tangle of rayon sewing threads.

Nylon

In 1935, DuPont (US Conglomerate) made Nylon without using any natural raw material. So, it was the first fully synthetic fiber. It was first used in bristles of toothbrushes and women’s stockings.

Nylon fiber is strong, elastic, light, lustrous, and easy to wash. Thus, it was widely used as a replacement for cotton and silk during Second World War. It is also used to make tents, ropes, and parachutes.

Coils-of-nylon-ropes-and-kevlar-fiber.Coils of Nylon ropes and Kevlar fiber.

Kevlar

It is a heat-resistant synthetic fiber. Kevlar was first developed by DuPont in 1965. Due to its high tensile strength, it was first used as a replacement for steel in racing tires.

Kevlar fibers are very tightly spun thus it is impossible to penetrate them. For instance, when a bullet or other projectile hits the kevlar, the fibers actually grab the projectile while absorbing and dissipating its energy.

Polyester

Polyesters are polymers that are made up of the repeating units of a chemical called an ester. Fabric made from polyester does not get wrinkled or shrank easily. Moreover, these fibers are hydrophobic in nature which makes them easy to wash and dry.

polyester-fabric-for-men-suitPolyester fabric for men’s suits.

Polyester is the most commonly used synthetic fiber. It is widely used in apparel and home furnishing items.

Acrylic Fiber

Acrylic fibers are made up of thousands of acrylonitrile monomer units. These fibers are soft, strong, warm with a wool-like touch. Moreover, they are easy to wash, thus find use in the apparel industry.

Acrylic fibers are used to make winter clothing such as sweaters, socks, fleece wear, etc. Some common trade names for acrylic fibers include Acrilan, Creslan, Orlon, and Zefran.

acrylic-fibre-threadsYarns and reels of acrylic fiber threads.

Carbon fibers

Carbon fibers are made up of thin, strong crystalline filaments of carbon. These fibers also have superior electrical properties, high strength, they do not expand under heat.

These properties make carbon fibers an excellent candidate for use in aerospace, F1 racing, wind turbines, and military designs. Sometimes, carbon fibers are also called graphite fibers.

carbon-fiber-in-workshopCarbon fiber in a workshop.

Microfiber

Microfiber is finer than one strand of silk and is about a fifth of the diameter of human hair. These fibers are mostly made from polyesters or polyamides. Fabric made from microfiber is highly absorbent.

Microfibers are mostly used to make mops, cleaning towels, industrial filters. It is also a popular choice for the manufacture of athletic wear such as cycling jerseys.

microfiber-cleaning-towelsCleaning towels made of microfiber.

Lycra

Lycra fiber is the trademarked brand name of a class of synthetic fibers. It is also known as spandex in the US and elastane in the rest of the world. Joseph Shivers, a chemist at DuPont labs, invented lycra in 1958.

It has exceptional elasticity and strength. Lycra is used to make skin-tight garments such as athletic wear, leggings, shorts, yoga pants, undergarments, etc.

PVDC or Polyvinylidene Chloride

PVDC or Polyvinylidene Chloride is a transparent and flexible thermoplastic. It is produced by the polymerization of vinylidene chloride. PVDC is also highly resistant to many chemicals including grease and oil.

It also forms a barrier against water and oxygen, making it perfect for protecting food and other perishable items. The most popular brand of PVDC is Saran wrap.

pvdc-food-wrapRaw food wrapped with PVDC food wrap.

Thinsulate

Thinsulate was invented by the 3M corporation. It was first sold in 1979. According to 3M Corp, it is twice as warm as any natural material and much finer than the normal fiber.

Thinsulate is used in your winter clothing to help you keep warm. Nowadays, carmakers are also using Thinsulate to make fabric roofs for convertible sports cars.

Also Read: 11 Methods of Food Preservation used by Food Industry

Nomex

Nomex is heat and flame-resistant fiber that doesn’t melt, drip, or support combustion. Thus, provide superior heat, flame, and arc flash protection. Dupont developed this fiber in the 1960s. Nomex protects first responders, utility, and electrical workers.

nomex-fire-retardant-suitNomex Fire Retardant Suit.

So, now you know about various kinds of synthetic fibers and their properties. So that is all for now, meet you in my next article. Keep Reading, Keep Exploring, and Keep Sharing your Knowledge, and above all BE CURIOUS. 🙂

Also Read: 11 Methods of Food Preservation used by Food Industry


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Ice is a cooler version of water.

Water turns into ice when it cools down to zero degrees Celsius (or 32 degrees Fahrenheit). So, we can say that “ice is a cooler version of water” :D. Ice often forms on lakes, rivers, and the ocean in winters. It occurs in different forms such as frost, snow, sleet, and hail.

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When the temperature of the water gets close to the freezing point (i.e. zero degrees celsius), water molecules begin to expand. In a small space, these expanding molecules can create a lot of pressure. This is why when water freezes in a crack in a rock, the ice can eventually break the rock apart (using the pressure of expanding molecules). Thus, it plays a very important role in the process of weathering.

Also Read: What is Soil? How is it formed?

So, now you know why we can say that ice is a cooler version of water. That is all for now and meet you in my next article. Keep Reading, Keep Exploring, and Keep Sharing your Knowledge and above all BE CURIOUS. 😉


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How Enzymes speed up the chemical reactions?​

Enzymes are complex biological molecules which catalyze or greatly speeds up the rate at which a chemical reaction will occur. They are primarily proteins, but some enzymes, called ribozymes, are made of RNA. The key concept behind the speeding up of a chemical reaction by an enzyme is that it reduces the activation energy required for a reaction. In doing so, it speeds up the reaction.  Continue reading How Enzymes speed up the chemical reactions?​

What are Antitranspirants? How do they Reduce Water Loss in Plants?

Antitranspirants are substances applied to the plants for the purpose of reducing transpiration (water loss) without causing a significant effect on other plant processes, such as photosynthesis & growth. They have been used with some success in horticulture, especially in the ornamental industry. Continue reading What are Antitranspirants? How do they Reduce Water Loss in Plants?

Free Radicals: What is their role in making us old?

From the beginning of time, people have tried to understand aging and processes associated with the biology of aging. Many scientists believe that aging results from the repetitive damage caused to our body cells. The everyday metabolic activities that usually sustain our life but also create “metabolic stress”, which over time, results in damage to our bodies. Some of these metabolic activities result in the production of radicals and which may cause harmful damage to our body cells. Continue reading Free Radicals: What is their role in making us old?