What are "Synthetics" - Definition & Explanation
Last Updated on: 30-May-2024 ( ago)
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Synthetics: The Game-Changers of the Textile Industry

The Evolution and Impact of Synthetics in the Textile Industry

context, various types of synthetics, handling tips, key global manufacturers, and broad applications. The analysis concludes with a reflective discourse on the role and future potential of synthetics in the evolving textile industry landscape.

History and Origin of Synthetic Fibers

Synthetic fibers revolutionized the textile industry with their introduction in the early 20th century. With a foundation in the chemistry of polymers, synthetic fibers are made from synthesized polymers or small molecules. The industry's journey into synthetic fibers began with the invention of nylon by Wallace H. Carothers in the 1930s, offering an alternative to silk and spurring a wave of innovation that transformed the textile industry's dynamics.

Types of Synthetic Fibers

  • Nylon: A durable and versatile synthetic fiber, ideal for clothing, carpets, and ropes.
  • Polyester: Resistant to wrinkles and shrinking, polyester is widely used in clothing, home furnishings, and industrial fabrics.
  • Acrylic: Known for its softness and wool-like qualities, it's commonly used in sweaters, upholstery, carpets, and crafts.
  • Spandex: Highly elastic, it's used in a variety of stretchable clothing, including sportswear and fitted garments.
  • Aramid (Kevlar): Known for its heat-resistant and strong fibers, it's used in bulletproof vests, bicycle tires, and cut-resistant gloves.

Handling Tips

  • Synthetic fibers should be washed in warm or cold water to prevent damage or shrinkage.
  • It's recommended to use fabric softeners to reduce static electricity.
  • Low heat setting should be used for ironing synthetic fabrics.

Major International Manufacturers and Users

  • DuPont: An American conglomerate renowned for its extensive research and development in synthetic fibers, including the invention of nylon.
  • Teijin: A Japanese company that is a leading manufacturer of polyester fibers.
  • Toray Industries: Another Japanese firm that specializes in synthetic fibers including nylon, polyester, and others.
  • Reliance Industries: This Indian conglomerate is one of the largest players in the polyester fiber market globally.
  • H&M: As a global fast-fashion retailer, H&M is a significant user of synthetic fibers in its clothing products.

Applications of Synthetic Fibers

  • Clothing and Fashion: From everyday wear to specialized sportswear, synthetic fibers are widely used due to their durability, affordability, and versatility.
  • Home and Interiors: Synthetic fibers are a popular choice in home furnishings, including carpets, curtains, and upholstery.
  • Industrial Uses: The strength and durability of certain synthetic fibers make them suitable for use in various industries, including automotive, aviation, and defense.


Today, synthetic fibers hold a significant share in the global textile market due to their affordability, durability, and versatility. From clothing and home furnishings to various industrial applications, synthetics have transformed the landscape of the textile industry. However, the environmental impact of synthetic fibers, particularly related to their non-biodegradable nature and the microplastics issue, has raised sustainability concerns. As the industry moves towards a more sustainable future, the challenge lies in harnessing technology and innovation to enhance the environmental performance of synthetic fibers. This could include advances in recycling techniques, the development of bio-based synthetic fibers, and improved manufacturing processes. In this context, synthetic fibers will continue to play a vital role in the textile industry, underlining the importance of continued research and development in this field.

Fabrics that are not from natural origins. Synthetics include manmade polyesters and polyvinyl fiber derivatives such as Acrylic, Nylon and Spandex that have been synthesized from petroleum and carbon derivatives.
Man-made, sciennfically produced fibers used in many fabncs. Some types of synthetics are: rayon, nylon, polyester, and fiberglass.

Some other terms

Some more terms:

A soft shaggy wool tweed fabric. Originally referred to only wool from the Shetland Islands in Scotland but now refers to any wool fabric with similar characteristics. May be woven or knit. Used for...
Back warp, also known as back beam, is an essential part of a weaving loom used in the production of textiles. It refers to the warp yarns that are placed on the back beam of the loom, which are used...
Any single filament, generally a coarser manufactured fiber. Monofilaments are generally spun individually, rather than being extruded through the spinneret in groups of filaments. Cross-sections may...
A plate with an elecrtostatic charge is positioned behind the fabric and a stencil to attract powdered inks into the fabric. Suitable dyes must be in powdered form. This is an experimental textile...
A tough medium to heavyweight coarsely woven plain weave fabric, usually made of a cotton or cotton/poly blend. Lower grades of the unfinished fabric are used for such industrial purposes as bags,...

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