How is Acrylic made?

Acrylic fibres were first manufactured by the DuPont company and although they don’t manufacture Acrylic today, it is still manufactured extensively. It uses a chemical substance called Acrylonitirile, which is also used in the manufacture of plastics, meaning that Acrylic is a synthetic fabric.

Acrylic Manufacture

Acrylic fibres are made using a polymer. This polymer is created by free-radical polymerisation in aqueous suspension. The fibre is then formed by soaking this polymer in a solvent and then feeding it through a spinneret, much in the same way that many synthetic and manufactured fibres are made. The resulting filaments are then coagulated in a chemical bath and then washed. These fibres are then stretched, dried and crimped to create useable fibres.

Acrylic fibres can be made either staple or filament and can be made in a range of thicknesses. They are usually modified to create special properties best suited for the end use they are required for. Acrylic is unique because of its uneven surface, meaning a coloured acrylic sheet might appear different shades of colour under certain light.

A disadvantage of Acrylic fabric is the fact that it pills badly. This has been minimised and in some cases wiped out completely with a finishing product called Pil-Trol

Properties of Acrylic

  • Exceptionally soft
  • Lightweight
  • Keeps its shape
  • Highly elastic
  • Warm
  • Holds its colour well
  • Stain Resistant
  • Wrinkle resistant
  • Easy to care for
  • May Pill
  • Resistant to Moths
  • Resistant to chemicals
  • High Performance
  • UV resistance

End uses of Acrylic

  • Knits
  • Upholstery covers
  • Rugs
  • Excellent Wool substitute
  • Can be used as a cashmere substitute
  • Football Socks
  • Sportswear
  • Fleece Fabrics

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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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