Olefin Fibre – Tyvek

How is Olefin Fibre made?

In the textile industry, the term ‘Olefin Fibres’ refers to a synthetic fibre made up of at least 85% Polyethylene or Polypropylene by weight.

Olefin Fibre Manufacture

The US began producing Olefin fibres in the 1960’s. These fibres account for 16% of all the fabrics produced in the world.

Olefin fibres are produced by polymerising Propylene or Ethylene gases with the help of a catalyst. Dye is applied directly to the liquid solution as Olefin fibres do not dye easily one they have been fully manufactured. The polymer is then melted. This liquid is then pulled through a spinneret, once the solution has been drawn through these tiny little holes, the filaments are then immersed in cold water so that they can solidify. This process can also be done by applying cool air to the filaments.

The fibres are then drawn out to 6 times their length to improve their strength and performance. The manufacturing process for Olefin is very similar to that of Nylon and Polyester. They are all synthetic fibres, from non-renewable resources.

Properties of Olefin Fibre

  • Hydrophobic (water repellent)
  • Warm without the weight
  • Low Moisture Absorption
  • Wicks away moisture
  • Dries quickly
  • Abrasion Resistant
  • Resistant to Stains, Sunlight, fire and chemicals
  • Doesn’t dye easily
  • Colourfast
  • Low melting point
  • Low Static
  • Medium Lustre
  • Very Resilient
  • Can be adapted to have other properties

End uses of Olefin Fibre

  • Wallpaper
  • Ropes
  • Vehicle Interiors
  • Apparel
  • Furnishings
  • Industrial Textiles
  • Tights
  • Medical Uses
  • Geotextiles


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Kelly Mitchell

Written by Kelly Mitchell

Kelly Mitchell, extremely competent and reliable, she is currently in her third year at the University of Lincoln UK, studying Fashion. Kelly is responsible for the Fabrics, Fibers and Leathers sections of our Dictionary


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