How is Acetate made?

Acetate is a synthetic or man-made fibre. It is made by processing liquid filaments into fibres. It is made from the cellulose material found in wood pulp. The first version of Acetate was created in 1865.

Acetate Manufacture

Acetate is made by combining Cellulose from wood pulp with acetic acid. Sulphuric acid is also added and the wood flakes are turned into Acetate flakes. The flakes can then either be mixed with Acetone and used as a coating or tuned into other substances. The coating was used frequently during World War One, in planes and equipment.

Acetate today is made using wood shavings. It is produced in a similar method to wool, where the material is broken down into cellulose components. This solution is then filtered and the spinning solution is extruded in a column or warm air. These filaments are then stretched and wound onto bobbins or cones ready for use.

Because Acetate is made from a naturally renewable and sustainable source, it more environmentally friendly than a lot of other manufactured fibres.

Properties of Acetate

  • Silky, luxurious appearance
  • Must be dry cleaned
  • Dries easily
  • Resists absorbing moisture
  • Not strong
  • Shrink resistant
  • Does not crease
  • Durable to an extent
  • Melts if it comes into contact with alcohol or nail polish remover
  • Flexible
  • Loses its colour through wear
  • Imitates silk well
  • Crisp Handle
  • Resilient
  • Non-static
  • Poor thermal retention
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Thermoplastic

End uses of Acetate

  • Buttons
  • Blouses
  • Sunglasses
  • Lining Fabrics
  • Home furnishings
  • Draperies
  • Upholstery
  • Surgical products
  • Playing Cards

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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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