Table IV

Man-Made Fibers

Fiber Origin of Material Characteristics Advantages Disadvantages Suitable Uses
Acrylic Synthetic polymer (acrylonitrile) Not absorbent, resists sunlight Inexpensive wool substitute, easily washable Pills, heat damage Similar as fine wools, except for felting
EcoSpun Synthetic polymer (polyethylene terephthalate) Moisture-wicking, not absorbent Uses post-consumer recycled PET containers As polyester Any as polyester, popular for fleece fabrics
Lurex Aluminum coated plastic filament Reflective colored film, not absorbent Unique visual effect Melts easily Specialty accent
Lyocell Remanufactured cellulose from wood pulp Lustrous, absorbent More environmentally friendly manufacture than rayon, soft, resists wrinkles More expensive than rayon Any as rayon
Metallic Metals (various kinds) usually with a film or fiber base Lustrous, not absorbent, some are reflective Unique visual effect May tarnish, often expensive, heavy if thick, fragile if thin Speciality accent
Nylon Synthetic polymer (coal-based) Elastic, abrasion resistant, not absorbent Fast to dry, strong Prone to static, sunlight damage Lightweight fabrics to canvas, industrial applications
Polyester Synthetic polymer (various kinds) Not absorbent Easily washable, inexpensive Holds greasy stains, dyes poorly General purpose, garments to industrial applications
Rayon Remanufactured cellulose from wood pulp Lustrous, absorbent Soft, inexpensive Wrinkles easily Softly draped garments


Maximum 192 points

Examiner 1: 186
Examiner 2: 186

Examiner 1 gave 21 points to nylon and rayon and the full 24 to the rest. The comment for nylon was that it picks up loose dyes easily, I seem to recall I intended to add "dyes easily" to the characteristics but somehow it didn't happen. The comment for rayon is that it is weak when wet and shrinks with washing. Examiner 2 gave 21 points to nylon and polyester and the full 24 to the rest. There was the same dye comment about nylon and a note that polyester is resilient.

Some of these fibers were difficult to research, mostly I was using technical books that contained vast quantities of data. Simple things like characteristics were often buried in pages of discussion of polymer chemistry. Sure, I have a better handle on the terminology than someone not trained as an engineer, but it's still a lot to slog through. Most of the less technical books don't have much to say about fiber properties or talk about them only in vague terms.