Acrylic Fibers

Acrylic Fibers

Acrylic fiber is a “mature” synthetic fiber. Having explored many end-uses, it has now settled into its own specialist end-use areas, with little prospect of volume expansion through the introduction of new applications. Indeed, because of its relatively high cost in recent years, it has lost significant market share to competing fibers, in particular polyester, which now commands nearly 50% share of the global fibers market and is the largest fiber type by volume. However, acrylic fibers have highly desirable properties (softness, thermal properties, dyeability, etc.), which in the past, tended to make it the fiber of choice in end-use applications such as sweaters, blankets, gloves, hats, scarves, and children’s soft toys. Unfortunately, many of these end uses have come under threat from polyester, which while not quite as good in quality, is acceptable and much cheaper.

Acrylic fiber contains 85% or more acrylonitrile by weight, while mod-acrylic fibers contain between 35% and 85% acrylonitrile. The main comonomers used in the production of acrylic fibers are vinyl acetate monomer (VAM), methyl acrylate (MA), and vinyl chloride monomer (VCM). Acrylic staple accounts for virtually 100% of the acrylic fiber produced. Continuous filaments are used mainly for conversion to carbon fiber (carbon precursor).


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