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.
|Tensile Strength (Tenacity)||Fair - Good|
|Abrasion Resistance||Fair - Good|
|Static Resistance||Fair - Poor|
|Resistance to Sunlight||Excellent|
|Resistance to Heat||Fair|
COMMERCIAL Acrylic Fibers
Acrylic fibers are often used for clothing, like sweaters, socks, and tracksuits; blankets; area rugs; upholstery; luggage suitcases; awning; and outdoor furniture.