Synthetic fibers are a subset of the larger area of textiles. Textiles can be natural or synthetic. Natural fibers include cotton, fur, wool, etc. Regenerated fibers are natural materials that have been processed into a fiber structure. Regenerated fibers such as cellulose and wood pulp are used to make materials such as rayon and acetate.
Synthetic fibers are man made from chemicals. They are generally based on polymers and are stronger than natural and regenerated fibers.
Synthetic fibres are used for making clothes and many other useful things. They may be entirely synthetic or semisynthetic. Semisynthetic fibres, like rayons, are made by using natural polymers as the starting material. Purely synthetic fibres, on the other hand, are made from chemicals. Polyesters, nylons and acrylics are purely synthetic fibres.
Advantages of synthetic fibres:
Synthetic fibres have many advantages over natural fibres:
1. Synthetic fibres do not depend either on an agricultural crop as cotton, flax and jute do, or on animal farming as silk and wool do.
2. The fabrics made of synthetic fibres like polyester and nylon are easily heat-set, i.e., they retain the fold or pleat made on them by ironing even after washing. Thus it is easier to maintain clothes made of synthetic fibres than those made of natural fibres.
3. Synthetic fibres are much stronger, and hence more durable than natural fibres. They dry easily and have faster colours.
4. Synthetic fibres are not easily acted upon by moisture, chemicals or bacteria.
5. They are generally cheaper than natural fibres
Disadvantages of synthetic fibres:
Synthetic fibres suffer from the following disadvantages:
1. Clothes made of pure synthetic fibres are garishly lustrous.
2. Synthetic fibres melt before burning. So clothes made of such fibres stick to the skin when in contact with a flame, causing burns. Therefore, they should not be worn in the kitchen or while setting off fireworks.
4. Some electrical charge accumulates on synthetic fibres due to which they cling together as well as to the skin. The electrical charge irritates the skin.