Synthetic Fibers

Synthetic fibers (nylon and rayon),, polystyrene

Synthetic fibers are made from raw materials such as petroleum, based on chemicals or petrochemicals. These materials are polymerized into a long, linear chemical with different chemical compounds and are used to produce various types of fibers. Synthetic fibers account for about half of all fiber usage, with applications in every field of fiber and textile technology. Many classes of fiber based on synthetic polymers have been evaluated as potentially valuable commercial products, three of them are nylon, polyester, and acrylic, which dominate the market.


Polystyrene is a versatile plastic used to make a wide variety of consumer products. As a hard, solid plastic, it is often used in products that require clarity, such as food packaging and laboratory ware. When combined with various colorants, additives or other plastics, polystyrene is used to make appliances, electronics, automobile parts, toys, gardening pots and equipment and more.

Polystyrene also is made into a foam material, called expanded polystyrene (EPS) or extruded polystyrene (XPS), which is valued for its insulating and cushioning properties. Foam polystyrene can be more than 95 percent air and is widely used to make home and appliance insulation, lightweight protective packaging, surfboards, foodservice and food packaging, automobile parts, roadway and roadbank stabilization systems and more.  Polystyrene is made by stringing together, or polymerizing, styrene, a building-block chemical used in the manufacture of many products. Styrene also occurs naturally in foods such as strawberries, cinnamon, coffee and beef.

Polystyrene in Appliances

Refrigerators, air conditioners, ovens, microwaves, vacuum cleaners, blenders – these and other appliances often are made with polystyrene (solid and foam) because it is inert (doesn’t react with other materials), cost-effective and long-lasting.



Polystyrene in Automotive

Polystyrene (solid and foam) is used to make many car parts, including knobs, instrument panels, trim, energy absorbing door panels and sound dampening foam. Foam polystyrene also is widely used in child protective seats.

Polystyrene in Electronics

Polystyrene is used for the housing and other parts for televisions, computers and all types of IT equipment, where the combination of form, function and aesthetics are essential.

Polystyrene in Foodservice

Polystyrene foodservice packaging typically insulates better, keeps food fresher longer and costs less than alternatives.

Polystyrene in Medical

Due to its clarity and ease of sterilization, polystyrene is used for a wide range of medical applications, including tissue culture trays, test tubes, petri dishes, diagnostic components, housings for test kits and medical devices.


Nylon is not a natural fiber; it is a synthetic fiber that is made from chemical by-products of petroleum, coal, and agricultural products. Nylon is often referred to as a polymer and the material used to produce nylon is known as polyamides. It was first produced by Wallace Carothers at the DuPont Experimental Station. Nylon became popular during the Second World War due to the shortage of natural fabrics such as silk. It was used to manufacture parachutes, tires, tents, ponchos, ropes, and other military supplies.  Nylon fabrics have a low absorbency rate, making them ideal for the manufacture of stockings, swimwear, and athletic wear. Nylon is a very popular fabric today due to its low cost, durability, and low maintenance. It is also resistant to heat and tears. This fabric also resists stains and maintain its shape after being washed.

Uses of Nylon

One of the most common uses for nylon is in women’s stockings or hosiery. It is also used as a material in dress socks, swimwear, shorts, track pants, active wear, windbreakers, draperies and bedspreads. Less frequently encountered uses include flak vests, parachutes, combat uniforms and life vests; the fiber is also often used in manufacturing umbrellas, luggage and the netting for bridal veils.


Rayon is a regenerated cellulose fiber. It is considered as a semi-synthetic (neither natural nor synthetic) fiber that is made from wood pulp, a natural raw material based on semi-cellulose. Although rayon is a manufactured fiber, it shares many similarities with natural fabrics such as cotton and linen.  Rayon is soft, breathable, comfortable and moisture absorbent. This moisture absorbance and softness of the fabric make it ideal for summer wear. This fabric also drapes well. However, rayon fiber is also prone to wrinkles, creases and tears just like natural fibers. This fabric is also blended with other materials to achieve different properties. Rising prices in cotton have increased the demand for rayon since rayon is being used as a substitute for cotton.  It is also important to note that various characteristics and properties of rayon depend on its many factors such as processing and additives. There are four major types of rayon fabrics known as regular rayon, high wet modulus rayon, high tenacity modulus rayon and Cuprammonium rayon.

Uses of rayon fibre

  • Rayon typically has an elevated luster quality giving it a brilliant gloss.
  • Mainly, Rayon fibres are used in apparel industry such as Aloha shirts, blouses, dresses, Jackets, Lingerie, scarves, suits, ties, hats and socks
  • Some rayon fibres are for filling in Zippo lighters, furnishings including bedspreads, bedsheets, blankets, window covers, upholstery and slipcovers.
  • For industrial purposes such as medical surgery products, non-woven items, tire cord and some other uses like diapers, towels, feminine hygiene products


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