Synthetic Fibers

Nylon
This fiber was first introduced by the Dupont Chemical Company in 1938. Several years later, after a great deal of development, nylon became the first of the synthetic fibers to be used in the carpet industry. The first 3 generations of fibers went through many problems the worst of which was staining. The 4th generation fiber had a mill applied flourochemical coating that solved most of the staining problems. The fibers ability to repel water/oil based spills as well as soil helped launch nylon into the top selling carpet fiber.

After more changes, the DuPont chemical company introduced the fifth generation nyly fiber. This stain resistant fiber will repel most dye stains if treated in a reasonable time frame. This fiber is more accurately called an ACID DYE BLOCKER in that it does not allow acid dyes(natural or artificial) to penetrate and stain the fiber. This protective coating is mill applied (usually after the dying process) and fills all the dye sites with anionic molecules. Fluorochemical coating is then applied giving the fiber double protection.

Cationic solutions will neutralize the acid dye blockers and high alkaline solutions will weaken the electrical charge which holds these coatings on the fibers. Because of this, these types of solutions should be avoided. When wet cleaning, keep the pH of the solutions between 7-9 .

Tip
A simple way of testing a fiber for the presense of a fluorochemical is to cut a couple of fibers from a non traffic area and apply a few drops of oil/water mixture. If this beads up there is an active fluorochemical present.

When testing for the presence of the acid dye blocker, again cut a couple of fibers from a non-traffic area, immerse these in an artificial red coloured liquid, (kool-aid) wait 5 minutes. Remove the fiber from the liquid and flush with neutral detergent solution. If the acid blockers are present and active there will be no discoloration.

The nylon fiber is made either as staple(short) or continuous(long) filament.

 

Polyester
This fiber was first introduced into the garment industry by the 1950’s. By the 1960’s, polyester was introduced into the carpet industry as a face yarn. Polyester is similar to nylon in hand, feel and appearance but does not possess nylon’s resiliency. Polyester does not absorb water based spills, is not effected by urine or Kool-Aid but will absorb oil based spills. This fiber is non allergenic, mildew resistant and soil resistant. The polyester fiber is made either as staple or continuous filament (thread).

 

Acrylic/Modacrylic
These fibers were first used as carpet face yarns around 1949. They disappeared from the marketplace around 1988 because of competition from other fibers. It was reintroduced into the market place in 1990 in a Berber styling. This was done so it could take advantage of its wool-like appearance, hand feel and the fact that its more spot resistant, much easier to clean and is not damaged by months or carpet beetles the way wool is. This fiber is a non-allergenic fiber that is mildew proof.

 

Polypropylene (olefin)
This is the latest of the synthetic fibers to be adopted by the carpet industry. At first, only available in continuous filament, now its also produced in staple form. Polypropylene has a wide application of uses that include primary and secondary backings of tufted carpets, warp and weft yarns in some woven carpets and as face yarns in tufted and woven carpets.

Polypropylene first appeared in 1962 and because of its low absorption factor was found to be excellent for indoor-outdoor carpets, walk of mats, around swimming pools, patios, and basements. Polypropylene will not shrink, mildew, is not effected by cellulose browning, is light weight, has no static charge, is not resistant to oil, has poor resiliency and has the lowest melting point of all the synthetic fibers. (250 degrees F)

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