by Richard Denison
(New York, USA)
The fiber nylon was introduced first by the DuPont
Chemical Company in 1938. Several years later, after a great deal of development, nylon became the first synthetic fiber to be used in the entire carpeting industry.
The first 3 generations of fiber experienced many
problems with the worst being staining. The 4th
generation fiber of nylon had a mill applied coating that solved a majority of the staining problems.
The ability of the fiber to repel water and oil based spills as well as soil helped to propel nylon into the top selling carpet fibers out there.
After several other changes, the DuPont company
introduced the fifth generation nylon fiber. This
stain resistant fiber would repel most dye stains
if treated in a reasonable time. This fiber is
more accurately called an acid dye blocker in that
it doesn’t allow acid dyes to penetrate and stain
The protective coating mill is applied and fills the dye sites with anionic molecules.
An easy way to test fiber for the presence of a
fluorochemical is to cut a couple of fibers from a non traffic area and apply a few drops of oil and water mixture. If it beads up, then there is an active fluorochemical present.
Whenever testing for the presence of the acid dye
blocker, you should again cut a couple of fibers
from a non traffic area, then immerse the fibers
in a red kool-aid mixture and wait for 5 minutes
Remove the fiber from the liquid and flush with neutral detergent solution. If the acid blockers are present and active, there will be no discoloration.
The fiber of polyester was first introduced into
the garment industry around in the 1950s. By the
late 1960s, polyester was introduced into the
carpet industry as a face yarn. In hand, feel,
and appearance it is similar to nylon, although
it doesn’t possess that same resiliency.
Polyester doesn’t absorb water based spills, isn’t
affected by urine or kool-aid, but it will absorb oil based spills. Polyester is non allergenic and mildew resistant.
Both of these fibers were first used as carpet yarns around the late 1940s. They disappeared
around 1988 due to the competition from other fibers. In was reintroduced to the market around 1990 in Berber styling.
This was done so that people could take advantage
of the wool like appearance, hand feel, and the
fact that its more spot resistant, much easier to
clean, and not damaged in the ways that wool is.
Olefin is the latest of the synthetic fibers to
be adopted to carpets. Once only available in
continuous filament, it is now produced in staple
form as well.
Olefin has a wide variety of uses that include primary and secondary backing of tufted carpets, warp yarns, and other uses as well.
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