Acrylic fibre is thermoplastic (heat sensitive) fibre similar to polyester and nylon but is even more heat sensitive.
Acrylic, because of its heat sensitivity, can be closely made to resemble wool, due to its high bulking power.
In manufacture, stretched high shrinking fibres are blended in a yarn with un-stretched low shrinkage fibres.
When the yarn is subjected to steam the stretched high shrinkage fibres cause the low shrinkage fibres to buckle, thus creating bulk in the yarn.
Acrylic fibre is extremely versatile and its look and hand changes depending upon the bulking of the yarn and how it is spun.
Acrylic is popularly blended with wool but can be blended with other fibres, including chenille. Acrylic is used in both dress up and sports attire.
Women’s dresses, skirts, suits, and jackets are commonly blended with acrylic fibres. Acrylic is also found in household fabrics including blankets, draperies, and slipcovers.
Acrylic makes soft drapeable fabric which provides warmth without being heavy, and it takes color beautifully.
Although acrylic has traditionally been a fall/winter fabric, with a wonderful resemblance to wool.
Monsanto’s product development department has recently developed some lightweight circular knits and blends which lend themselves to trans-seasonal dressing as well.
Acrylic is comfortable to wear. It feels like wool. Yet, it is easy to care and is machine washable or dry cleanable.
Identification of Acrylic Fibre
Acrylic yarns can have various trade names, such as Acrilan, orlon, and creslan. Acrylic fibre can be identified by the burn test.
The burn test is often used to differentiate a wool fabric from acrylic fabric. Where there is a seam edge, snip a small piece for a sample.
Where there is no seam edge, pick off enough nap to roll between the fingers. Bring a lighted match to the sample.
Wool will sizzle and has an odor of burning feathers, Acrylics will melt into a black bead which is difficult to break.
- The natural color of acrylics ranges from white to cream
- Acrylic fibres are available in bright, semi-dull and dull lusters
- The fibres are not as strong as nylon and polyester but they are stronger than wool
- Acrylic fibres are fairly extensible, when wet the elongation increases for all acrylics.
- Acrylic fibres have good resiliency, they are resistant to
- Generally, acrylic fabrics are loosely constructed, they are bad conductors of heat and warm to wear.
- Acrylic fibres are non-absorbent and acrylic garments dry quickly.
- wrinkling and creases in fabrics hang out quickly.
- Acrylic fabrics do not soil or stain easily and are easy to clean.
- Acrylic fibres are fairly resistant to heat, at temperatures above 210°C, the fibres tend to stick to surfaces. Iron settings should be kept at 1600C or below, higher temperatures may cause yellowing and discoloration. Acrylics can be tumbled-dried if the drying temperatures do not exceed 150° C. Acrylics may result in some shrinkage if boiled because of the combination of heat and moisture
- Acrylic fibres are highly resistant to acids, alkalis bleaches and solvents encountered in normal domestic and laundry uses.
- Sunlight or other climatic elements do not have much effect on acrylics; they are also not affected by age, and prolonged storage of acrylics does not cause any changes in the fibre properties.
- Acrylics are not attacked by bacteria, mildew or moths.
Applications of Acrylic Fibre
Acrylic fibres are considered as easy-care. All types of acrylics are used in woven and knitted products and are also blended with other fibres like wool, cotton, and rayon.
Acrylics produce bulky, soft, and light fabrics. They have a high resistance to stretching so that garments made from acrylic retain their shape well.
They are particularly popular for sportswear, sweaters, hosiery and fleece wear. Acrylics are also used for manufacturing crochet and knitting yams.
They are suitable for blankets carpeting, upholstery, and special floor coverings and for special end-uses such as tennis courts and other sports surfaces.