Synthetic and Cellulosic Fiber Formation Technology
Most synthetic and cellulosic manufactured fibers are created by extrusion forcing a thick, viscous liquid (about the consistency of cold honey) through the tiny holes of a device called a spinneret to form continuous filaments of semi-solid polymer.
In their initial state, the fiber-forming polymers are solids and therefore must be first converted into a fluid state for extrusion. This is usually achieved by melting, if the polymers are thermoplastic synthetics (i.e., they soften and melt when heated), or by dissolving them in a suitable solvent if they are non-thermoplastic cellulosics. If they cannot be dissolved or melted directly, they must be chemically treated to form soluble or thermoplastic derivatives. Recent technologies have been developed for some specialty fibers made of polymers that do not melt, dissolve, or form appropriate derivatives. For these materials, the small fluid molecules are mixed and reacted to form the otherwise intractable polymers during the extrusion process.
As the filaments emerge from the holes in the spinneret, the liquid polymer is converted first to a rubbery state and then solidified. This process of extrusion and solidification of endless filaments is called spinning, not to be confused with the textile operation of the same name, where short pieces of staple fiber are twisted into yarn. There are four methods of spinning filaments of manufactured fibers: wet, dry, melt, and gel spinning.
Because the solution is extruded directly into the precipitating liquid, this process for making fibers is called wet spinning. Acrylic, rayon, aramid, modacrylic and spandex can be produced by this process.
The filaments do not come in contact with a precipitating
liquid, eliminating the need for drying and easing solvent recovery.
This process may be used for the production of
Melt spun fibers can be extruded from the spinneret in different cross-sectional shapes (round, trilobal, pentagonal, octagonal, and others). Trilobal-shaped fibers reflect more light and give an attractive sparkle to textiles.
Pentagonal-shaped and hollow fibers, when used in carpet, show less soil and dirt. Octagonal-shaped fibers offer glitter-free effects. Hollow fibers trap air, creating insulation and provide loft characteristics equal to, or better than, down.
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