Saturday, January 10, 2015

Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Mineral Fibers
Art Resource

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

Preamble
This is the thirty-fifth post in the "Art Resource" series, specifically aimed to construct an appropriate knowledge base in order to develop an artistic voice in ArtCloth.

Other posts in this series are:
Glossary of Terms
Units Used in Dyeing and Printing of Fabrics
Occupational, Health & Safety
A Brief History of Color
The Nature of Color
Psychology of Color
Color Schemes
The Naming of Colors
The Munsell Color Classification System
Methuen Color Index and Classification System
The CIE System
Pantone - A Modern Color Classification System
Optical Properties of Fiber Materials
General Properties of Fiber Polymers and Fibers - Part I
General Properties of Fiber Polymers and Fibers - Part II
General Properties of Fiber Polymers and Fibers - Part III
General Properties of Fiber Polymers and Fibers - Part IV
General Properties of Fiber Polymers and Fibers - Part V
Protein Fibers - Wool
Protein Fibers - Speciality Hair Fibers
Protein Fibers - Silk
Protein Fibers - Wool versus Silk
Timelines of Fabrics, Dyes and Other Stuff
Cellulosic Fibers (Natural) - Cotton
Cellulosic Fibers (Natural) - Linen
Other Natural Cellulosic Fibers
General Overview of Man-Made Fibers
Man-Made Cellulosic Fibers - Viscose
Man-Made Cellulosic Fibers - Esters
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Nylon
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Polyester
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Acrylic and Modacrylic
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Olefins
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Elastomers
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Mineral Fibers
Man Made Fibers - Other Textile Fibers
Fiber Blends
From Fiber To Yarn: Overview - Part I
From Fiber to Yarn: Overview - Part II
Melt-Spun Fibers
Characteristics of Filament Yarn
Yarn Classification
Direct Spun Yarns
Textured Filament Yarns
Fabric Construction - Felt
Fabric Construction - Nonwoven Fabrics
A Fashion Data Base
Fiber Construction - Leather
Fabric Construction - Films
Glossary of Colors, Dyes, Inks, Pigments and Resins
Fabric Construction – Foams and Poromeric Material
Knitting
Hosiery
Glossary of Fabrics, Fibers, Finishes, Garments and Yarns
Weaving and the Loom
Similarities and Differences in Woven Fabrics
The Three Basic Weaves - Plain Weave (Part I)
The Three Basic Weaves - Plain Weave (Part II)
The Three Basic Weaves - Twill Weave
The Three Basic Weaves - Satin Weave
Figured Weaves - Leno Weave
Figured Weaves – Piqué Weave
Figured Fabrics
Glossary of Art, Artists, Art Motifs and Art Movements

The Glossary of Terms, Timelines of Fabrics, Dyes and Other Stuff, A Fashion Data Base, Glossary of Colors, Dyes, Inks, Pigments and Resins, Glossary of Fabrics, Fibers, Finishes, Garments and Yarns and Glossary of Art, Artists, Art Motifs and Art Movements have been updated in order to better inform your art practice.

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The Art Resource series will be the first post in each calendar month. Remember - these Art Resource posts span information that will be useful for a home hobbyist to that required by a final year University Fine-Art student and so undoubtedly, some parts of any Art Resource post may appear far too technical for your needs (skip over those mind boggling parts) and in other parts, it may be too simplistic with respect to your level of knowledge (ditto the skip). The trade-off between these two extremes will mean that Art Resource posts will hopefully be useful in parts to most, but unfortunately may not be satisfying to all!


Introduction
Mineral fibers are inorganic materials used mainly for fireproof fabrics and for insulation. The mineral fibers have more industrial uses than clothing and household uses. Glass fiber, asbestos, metals such as gold, silver and stainless steel are the fibers in this group. Glass fiber has wide use in curtains, and draperies, and stainless steel has been used experimentally in clothing fabrics, rugs and carpeting.

Fiber glass and asbestos are used primarily for household articles and not for clothing. They are not flexible enough to be used for clothes that must take repeated bending and machine washing.

Fiberglass cloth.

Beta glass yarns are more flexible than the original glass fibers and are being made into experimental clothing items.

High Temperature Sewing Thread: Nomex, Kevlar, Fiberglass, Quartz, Basalt & Stainless Steel.

All mineral fibers can pose as health risks, especially if the fibrous forms become air-borne. It is important to consult a doctor, particularly if the following symptoms develop: shortness of breath, wheezing or hoarseness, persistent cough that worsens over time, blood in fluid coughed up, pain or tightening in chest, difficulty swallowing, swelling of neck or face, decreased appetite, weight loss, fatigue or anemia.

Below are some of the diseases associated with asbestos.
Asbestosis: Progressive fibrosis of the lungs of varying severity, progressing to bilateral fibrosis, honeycombing of the lungs on radiological view with symptoms including rales and wheezing. Individuals who have been exposed to asbestos via home, environment, work should notify their doctors about exposure history.
Asbestos Warts: caused when the sharp fibers lodge in the skin and are overgrown causing benign callus-like growths.
Pleural Plaques: discrete fibrous or partially calcified thickened area which can be seen on X-rays of individuals exposed to asbestos. Although pleural plaques are themselves asymptomatic, in some patients this develops into pleural thickening.
Diffuse pleural thickening: Similar to above and can sometimes be associated with asbestosis. Usually no symptoms shown but if exposure is extensive, it can cause lung impairment.
Pneumothorax: Some reports have also linked the condition of pneumothorax to asbestos related diseases.

Asbestos fibers lodged in the lungs. Asbestos-related conditions affect the lungs and surrounding tissues.

Trained staff must wear protective clothing in order to handle and remove asbestos.


Asbestos
General
Asbestos is a natural fiber that occurs as veins or strips in rocks. It is a fibrous crystal form of magnesium silicate. The mineral fibers are extremely fine and strong. Their most important property is that they are able to withstand temperatures up to 3000oC.

Fibrous tremolite asbestos on muscovite.

While there are three minerals classified as asbestos, the most important variety is the Canadian serpentine. Asbestos is mined in Canada, South Africa and the Soviet Union. Asbestos was also mined in Western Australia. It once contributed to about 10% of Australia’s requirements, but this source is no longer important.

The asbestos fibers are freed from the rock by repeated crushing and sieving. They are then separated from the crushed rock by blowing. Only the longest fibers are used for textile production; the short fibers are used in non-textile products such as building construction materials and thermal insulation, and for specialized applications in electrical installation, combustion chambers, brake linings and rocket nose cones.

During production and use, microscopic fibers of asbestos break away from the material and circulate in the air. When inhaled in some quantity these fibers have been shown to produce asbestosis and cancer of the lungs (see above). Hence there are concerted efforts to replace it by synthetic fibers more human friendly, whilst retaining the desirable properties of high heat and fire resistance.

Properties
Asbestos fibers are 3/8 to 3/4 inch in length and are quite small in diameter. The diameter has never been definitely determined because the fibers can be split to infinite fineness. The finest ever measured was made of several fine fibers. Under the microscope the fibers look like tiny polished rods, very straight, with no rough surfaces.

Fine asbestos fibers compared to wood cellulose. The cellulose has a diameter similar to that of coarse wool.
Courtesy of CSIRO.

The physical structure of the fiber makes it very difficult to spin into yarns because it is lacking in length and cohesiveness. For textile uses, 5 to 20% cotton is blended with asbestos.

Asbestos is white or greyish-white in color. Asbestos fibers do not dye readily, but since most textile uses are utilitarian, color is not important. Some fire screens and draperies have been printed.

Uses
The Greeks and Romans used asbestos for lamp-wicks and cremation cloths, but its use was forgotten in Europe by the Middle-Ages. It was still used in Asia; in the 13th Century, Marco Polo brought back from China news of a fabric which did not burn.

Asbestos was used for padding, for laundry presses and mangles, brake linings, gloves, aprons, belting for conveying hot materials, fire blankets, safety clothing, insulation materials and curtains, but its market share is rapidly declining because of the hazards associated with its use.

Asbestos Fire Protective Suits & Clothing, such as the fire gear (shown above) provided to Rosato by Mine Safety Appliances, Corp. Asbestos blankets were provided to and used by fire departments for use in firefighting.


Glass
General
The process of drawing out glass into hair-like strands dates back to ancient history. It is thought that Phoenician fishermen noticed pools of molten material among the coals of fires that they built on the sands of the Aegean beaches while poking at strange substances, they drew out a long strand – the first glass fiber.

In 1893, at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago (USA), the Libby Glass Company exhibited lamp shades woven of glass fibers and silks. A celebrated actress saw them and ordered a dress made from the fabric. The dress was valued at $30,000. These fabrics were not practical because they could not be folded without splitting. In 1938, commercially useful glass fiber was first produced by the Owens-Corning Fiberglass Corporation.

A glass fibre wedding dress.

Manufacture
Glass is made from a mixed melt of silica, sand and limestone combined with additives of feldspar and boric acid. These materials are melted in large electric furnaces (2400oF).

For filament yarns, each furnace has holes in the base of the melting chamber. Fine streams of glass flow through the holes and are carried through a hole in the floor to a winder room below. The winder revolves faster than the glass coming from the furnace, thus stretching the fibers and reducing them in size before they harden.

When staple yarn is spun, the glass flows out into thin streams of holes in the base of the furnace, and jets of high-pressure air or steam, yank the glass into fibers 8 to 10 inches long. These fibers are collected on a revolving drum and made into a thin web, which is then formed into a silver colored, soft, untwisted yarn.

Angel Hair: Glass fibres of 12 micron diameter.

The type of glass produced is determined by what other materials are added. The molten liquid is cooled to a clear solid, usually in the form of balls. During the cooling process, the molecules do not form any crystalline structure, but remain completely amorphous, disorganized. Despite this, glass has little extensibility or elasticity and tends to snap readily. Such rigidity makes it very vulnerable to abrasion.

Photomicrograph of fibreglass.

Glass fibre wedding dress was introduced by Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corporation in 1964. This fiber has all the excellent properties of regular glass fiber, but it is extremely fine in cross-section. It has one sixth of the denier of common fibers. The extremely fine filaments are resistant to breaking and thus more resistant to abrasion. Beta Fiberglass has about half the strength of regular glass fiber, but its tenacity of 8.2 is still greater than most fibers. This fiber is being used in bedspreads, mattress covers, mattress pads and tablecloths. Intimate blends with other fibers are possible. Blankets of 30/70 Beta/Acrylic are said to be softer, more stable to washing, and to have better insulting properties than 100% acrylic blankets.

Glass Dresses by Diana Dias-Leao.

Properties
The properties listed in the following table are most important properties for home furnishing.



Glass textiles are outstanding in their resistance to degradation by light and chemical agents. As they are completely flameproof they serve well as curtains as well as in many industrial uses.

Although fiberglass is strong, its durability is limited by the lack of high abrasion resistance. Therefore drapes and curtains designed from it must be designed so that the edges do not rub repeatedly against windowsills or floors and so that draughts of air do not whip them out of open windows. If these precautions are observed, fiberglass can give excellent service in domestic as well as industrial applications.

Glass will not absorb moisture or dyes. The only way to color it is to introduce into the melt inorganic pigments, which can withstand high temperatures. These produce only very pale colors.

Stronger colors can be added to glass fibers from the outside, with colored resin coatings. Such colored resins can be applied to fiberglass fabric as screen-printed patterns or as uniform solid colors. A process called coronizing (introduced in 1964) helps bond the resin to the glass fibers and so softens the handle of the fabric.

Comparison of properties of various fibers.

Coronizing
Coronizing is a process for heat-setting, dyeing, and finishing glass fiber in one continuous operation. Heat-setting is done on the fabric to set the crimp in the woven yarn. Since glass is low in flexibility, the yarns resist bending around one another in the woven fabric. Heat-setting softens the yarn so that it assumes a permanent bend suitable for fabric construction. Heat-setting is done at a temperature of 1,100oF, which is high enough to soften the yarns but not melt them. Coronized fabrics have greater wrinkle resistance and softer draping qualities.

After the heat-setting treatment, the glass fabric is treated with lubricating oil; then color and a water-repellent finish are added. For this treatment the Hycar-Quilon process is used. Hycar is an acrylic latex resin which, with the colored pigment, is padded onto the fabric and then cured at a temperature of 320oF. This is followed by a treatment with Quilon, a water repellant substance, and the fabric is again cured. Glass fiber is nonabsorbent, but glass will get wet, as anyone who has washed windows can testify. The water-repellent treatment makes the fabric resistant to wetting and increases color fastness. The resin used in the color treatment increases the flexibility of the fiber. However, the resin is damaged by chlorinated dry cleaning solutions, so dry cleaning should be done with Stoddard solvent.

An overview of the process.

Screen printing as well as roller printing can be done by the Hycar-Quilon process, since the color paste dries fast enough to allow one screen to follow another rapidly. The Hycar-Quilon process gives good resistance to rubbing off (crocking), which is one of the disadvantages of the other coloring methods.

Uses and Care
Glass fiber is extensively used in the decorator field for curtains and draperies. Here the fiber performs best if bending and abrasion can be kept at a minimum (see above).

In industry fiberglass is used as a filter material, as heat and sound insulation, and as reinforcement in structural and decorative plastics. It has also wide industrial use where noise abatement, fire protection, temperature control (insulation) and air purification are needed. The excellent insulating properties of glass fiber are also used to advantage in the clothing and household field. The fiber used for insulating clothing is much finer than that used in industrial insulation.

Glass fiber fabrics are preferably washed by hand. If washed by machine, a residue may be left that will get into the next wash load making skin-contact clothing very uncomfortable. If a machine is used, glass fiber articles should be washed separately and the machine should be thoroughly rinsed.
.
Glass fiber laundry bag after being washed with a regular family wash.

Frequent washing should not be necessary since glass fibers resist soil, and spots and stains can be wiped off with a damp cloth. No ironing is necessary. Curtains can be smoothed and put on the rod dry. Oils used in finishing have caused greying of white curtains. Oil holds dirt persistently and also oxidizes with age. Washing has not proved to be a very satisfactory way to whiten the material, and dry cleaning is not recommended unless Stoddard solvent is used. Of all the fibers used in curtains, glass fiber is the only one that is flameproof and it has the best resistance to degradation by sunlight. Glass fibers have a density higher than any other fiber. In curtains and draperies, the weight of the fabrics may mean that special rods are necessary especially if large areas are draped.


Metallic Fibers
General
It is possible to make fabrics from strands of gold or silver, but you will seldom find them in local shops. Besides being very expensive to make, they are scratchy to wear, soon tarnish and the tarnish has an unpleasant odor.

Conductive fiber Silver coated nylon finer.

Aluminium is used for yarns for decorative trim and to highlight certain fabrics. Strips of this metal are coated with either acetate or polyester films and therefore, these yarns are rather heat sensitive. Those made with the polyester film coating wear longer and can stand higher temperatures in laundering and ironing than those with acetate film.

Nancy Judd's Aluminium Drop Dress.

Research is underway which indicates that we may be wearing stockings made of steel in the future. Incredible as it seems, very, very fine strands of steel are soft and flexible and can be made into sheer looking hosiery, which will give long wear. Nevertheless, as with most fabrics cost will determine wether such items are saleable.

Experimental clothing for space explorer’s use several metallic fibers as they are strong and can withstand high temperatures.

Stainless Steel
In 1965 the Brunswick Corporation developed a superfine stainless steel filament, 6 – 12 microns, that could be woven or knitted. It has been described as a “break-through” material since the development of nylons in the 1930s. Stainless steel was first known in the early 1960s and was used for space travel for uses where glass and ceramic fibers would be completely destroyed by the high temperatures.

In manufacture, a bundle of fine wires (0.002 inch) is sheathed in dissimilar alloys and drawn to its final diameter, pickled in nitric acid to remove the sheath, and the yarn of several filaments is ready for sizing, warping and weaving. One of the earliest problems that needed to be solved was that of twist. Each filament tended to act as a tiny coil spring. The fibers cannot be dyed; and if blended with white fibers, a good white could not be obtained in the resulting fabric.

Stainless steel fibers are expected to be useful in eliminating static, in preventing pilling, and because of its antistatic properties repelling soil that is attracted by static. Since only 1% of the steel fiber was needed it was thought that in spite of its high cost, it would be cheaper than to include the application of an antistatic compound.

Stainless Steel Fiber for Fabrics.

Since steel conducts electricity it was though that fibers when hooked up to an electric source could be used for heating clothing, wall and floor coverings etc. Steel fibers for fabrics are still not in common use.

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