Acrylic Fibers Are Synthetic Fibers

Acrylic fibers are synthetic fibers is made from synthetic linear polymer that consists of at least 85% (m/m) of acrylonitrile units or acrylonitrile copolymers. Acrylonitrile the base component for acrylic fiber is a product of the petroleum industry. The fiber is produced by dissolving the polymer in a solvent such as N, N-dimethylformamide or aqueous sodium thiocyanate, metering it through a multi-hole spinnerets and coagulating the resultant filaments in an aqueous solution of the same solvent. The processing is completed with washing, stretching, drying and crimping. Acrylic fibers are either wet or dry spun.

It was first developed in the mid-1940s but was not produced in large quantities until the 1950s. It is manufactured as a filament, then cut into short staple lengths similar to wool hairs, and spun into yarn. Acrylic fibers are produced in a range of deniers, typically from 1 to 15. Acrylic is lightweight, soft, and warm, but tough and flexible, retains its shape, and resists shrinkage and wrinkles. It dyes very well and has excellent colorfastness. With a wool-like feel as it is quite varied in form, sometimes has an appearance similar to wool or cotton. Due to these properties Acrylic has recently been used in clothing as a cheaper alternative to cashmere due to the similar feeling of the material. 75 % of acrylic fibers are used in apparel, 20% in home furnishing and 5% in industrial end-uses. In apparel the acrylic fibers are used, for instance, in jumpers, waistcoats, cardigans, jackets, socks, knee-high stockings, training and jogging suits, either pure or in blends for example with wool. The Modacrylic fiber is a modified acrylic, is found in flame-retardant garments, children’s and baby wear, and in dolls clothes and soft toys.

The disadvantage of acrylic is that it tends to fuzz easily and that it does not take care of the wearer as well, as cashmere does. But, Acrylic is resistant to moths, oils, and chemicals, and is very resistant to deterioration from sunlight exposure

Production of acrylic fibers is centered in the Far East. China has emerged as a leading producer in the world accounting for almost a quarter of global capacity. China has production capacity at 900 thousand tons in 2005 which has grown by 50% since 2000. China is also a major consumer of acrylic staple fiber. Japan, on the other hand, shares just 9.5% of global capacity which has been consistently dropping while Turkey has maintained its global share at 7.8% in the last 5 years.

In 2005, global production of acrylic staple fiber touched 2,791 thousand tons. Acrylic accounts for 8% of all chemical fiber produced in the world. During the last 5-year period ended 2005, Acrylic staple fiber production has increased at a rate of 1.25% per annum, the slowest growth rate among all chemical fibers production. In the year 2005 192,000 tons of acrylic fibers were produced in Germany.

In 2005, the acrylic fiber industry was adversely affected by rising raw material cost. Acrylonitrile was dearer by almost 22-23% in USA, 16-17% in Europe and by 20% in Asia during 2005. During this time, acrylic staple fiber prices increased at a slower pace. They were up 15% in USA, 4% in Europe and 3-5% in Asia.

Thai Acrylic Fibre Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of the Adyta Birla Group of Industries, is one of the leading acrylic fiber producers in the world. In Europe, Bayer was the first producer, since 1954 has been manufacturing on a large scale.

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