Synthetic-based chemical fibres for baby and children's clothing
The textile industry uses chemical, i.e. synthetic, fibres that have no natural origin. The basic materials are not renewable, but natural raw materials such as coal, crude oil or natural gas. In complex chemical processes, the raw material is chemically and synthetically modified so that threads can be drawn from it. These are then refined and processed into fabrics.
Baby and children's clothing made from synthetic-based chemical fibres
Of all the synthetic fibres, polyester fibre is the one most often produced for the fashion world.
Its very good properties include:
- very low absorption of moisture
- quick drying
- high abrasion & tear resistance
- medium stretch
- high elasticity
- hardly forms wrinkles
- high weather resistance
The disadvantage of polyester fibres is that they are not biodegradable and get into the waste water through washing and thus also into the drinking water and food. Microplastics can also be inhaled. In addition, the fibre has low breathability, can hardly absorb moisture, can cause skin irritation on sensitive skin and is electrostatically charged.
The production of recycled polyester, also called rPET, reduces the amount of plastic waste that sits in landfills or floats in the ocean. Overall, recycling means that less new polyester needs to be produced. Through the process of recycling, there is hardly any loss of quality. The recycled fibre is just as durable as the newly produced fibre.
Unfortunately, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages, even though recycling is basically good. In the recycling process, the CO² consumption is higher than in the production of new polyester and the water consumption is almost the same. During the preparation of the fibre, a large number of chemicals are used. Only pure fibres can be used for recycling, as the process is otherwise too costly and resource-damaging for different materials. In addition, there are the disadvantages of simple polyester already mentioned.
Polyamide, also known as nylon, is a synthetic fibre like polyester and has the same properties. Due to its ability to transport moisture to the outside and its breathability, the fibre is particularly suitable for the production of sportswear. The polyamide fibre is more stretchy and elastic than polyester and very robust and dimensionally stable.
Like polyester and polyamide, polyacrylic has a synthetic origin and is a synthetic fibre. The fibre is based on synthetic polymers and is derived from petroleum. What distinguishes this fibre? Among other things, it is soft, light and warming. In addition, it is dimensionally stable, easy to care for, hard-wearing, tear-resistant, hardly creases, does not scratch and is extremely elastic. Another outstanding property of the synthetic fibre is that it is light and weather resistant. It has a high bulking capacity and therefore feels very fluffy. Despite the good properties, we do not want to leave out the bad ones. The fibre is very sensitive to heat and should therefore neither be burnt nor heated strongly. Burning produces highly toxic prussic acid, which is absorbed by the body through the skin and the air we breathe. This fibre cannot balance the temperature, which means that it cannot transport heat to the outside. It also absorbs very little moisture, which means that the moisture remains on the skin and unpleasant odours arise.
This fibre is added to many other materials, e.g. cotton, and is never used as the sole fibre. Spandex is a synthetic fibre made from polyurethane and polyethylene glycol and spun into a fibre using a dry spinning process. This fibre is used in the manufacture of clothing that needs to be elastic and skin-tight. For example, it is used in the manufacture of stretch jeans, underwear, sportswear and also in tops and socks in the cuffs.
Spandex keeps its shape and is very tear-resistant, crease-resistant and fabrics with this fibre do not need to be ironed. In addition, the material is very soft, light and fine, and it does not form knots or lint. The material is easy to care for and dries very quickly because it absorbs very little moisture. However, if too much elastane is added to fabrics, these textiles can lose their shape. The material is also not heat-resistant, which is why garments with spandex should not be ironed. Fabric softener should not be added during the washing process to maintain durability.
Nylon, like all man-made fibres, is synthetically produced from petroleum and is the name for polyamide. Historically, it was the first synthetic fibre to be made from inorganic materials. In the manufacturing process, water, carbon and air are first combined in long chains. This creates the so-called polymers of the material, which are then bonded together. Nylon fibres are thermoplastic and can deform at certain temperatures. The fibre has high elasticity, durability, stability and stretchability. However, it is sensitive to moisture or wetness.