Acrylic Fibers


Acrylic fibers are synthetic fibers made from polyacrylonitrile with an average molecular weight of about 100,000. For a fiber to be called "acrylic" in the US, the polymer must contain at least 85% acrylonitrile monomer. Typical co-monomers are vinyl acetate and methyl acrylate. DuPont created the first acrylic fiber in 1941 and trademarked and produced it under the tradename Orlon. It is manufactured as a filament, and then cut into short staple length fibers similar to wool hairs, and spun into yarns.

Acrylic fabrics are lightweight, soft, and warm, with a wool-like feel and, therefore, can be made to mimic other fibers, such as cotton and wool or can be blended with them.

Acrylic yarn is often perceived as "cheap" because it is usually priced lower than its natural-fiber counterparts and it is less soft, and warm (when wet) as wool and cotton. On the other hand, it is machine-washable, hypoallergenic, and extremely colorfast. This makes acrylic useful in certain items, like garments that require constant washing. It has good oil and chemical resistance and outstanding wickability and drying time. However, it is much more flammable than natural fibers.


Acrylic Fiber Properties

Tensile Strength (Tenacity) Fair - Good
Abrasion Resistance Fair - Good
Absorbency Poor
Static Resistance Fair - Poor
Heat Resistance Fair
Wrinkle Resistance Good
Resistance to Sunlight Excellent
Elasticity Good
Resistance to Heat Fair
Flame Resistance Burns
Resilience Good


COMMERCIAL Acrylic Fibers

Major manufacturers of acrylic fibers are DowAksa, Bayer AG, Sudamerica de Fibras (SDF), Sterling Fibers, Cydsa Dasa, Mitsubish Rayon, Radici Group, and Toyobo Co. Ltd.



Acrylic fibers are often used for clothing, like sweaters, socks, and tracksuits; blankets; area rugs; upholstery; luggage suitcases; awning; and outdoor furniture.

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