Man Made Fiber Formation
Man-made fibers are polymeric forms that are produced by some type of chemical which or by the regeneration & natural polymers in a new physical form. The polymer is connected into some type & liquid / fluid state and forced through a spinnerette. Although most spinnerette are made with round openings, some may use orifices & other shape is order to produce fiber with special characteristics.
The basic steps in producing manufactured fibers are as;
The liquid polymer is then extruded through a spinneret. Each spinneret has a number of holes, and each hole produces one filament. As they exit the spinneret the filament fibers are solidified by cooling of melted polymers, by evaporating the solvent, or by precipitating the polymer from solution. These methods of solidification are the bases of the three primary fiber manufacturing processes. Other spinning methods that have been developed are described later in this chapter.
Filament yarns are described by denier (that is, size) and number of filaments; for example, filaments described as 70/34 represent 70 denier/34 filaments. When fibers being extruded are intended for conversion into staple lengths, spinnerets with larger numbers of holes are used to produce more filaments that are later cut into staple lengths. Spinneret holes are spaced to allow the filaments to be extruded without touching each other. The holes must be exactly the same size to produce uniform fibers. The metal used in the plate must be capable of withstanding high pressures or corrosive spinning solutions.
Most fiber spinning processes include a final step of drawing in which the filaments are stretched around rollers.
Melt spinning take advantage of the thermoplastic characteristics of polymers. Chips of solid polymer about the size of rice grains are dropped from a hopper into a melter where heat converts the solid polymer into a viscous liquid. The liquid forms a “melt pool” that is pumped through filters to remove any impurities that, would clog the spinneret and is delivered to the spinneret at a carefully controlled rate of Row. Melt spinning is simpler and cheaper than other spinning methods; therefore, it is used except when polymers cannot be melt spun.
The spinneret holes are usually round, but noncircular holes are also used to make filaments of various cross-sectional shapes. Melt-spun fibers may be made through Y-shaped holes that yield a three-lobed fiber or C-shaped holes to produce a hollow filament, for example; The diameter of the fiber is determined by the rate’ at which the polymer is supplied to the hole in the spinneret and the windup speed, not by the diameter of the hole. When the molten polymer emerges from the spinneret hole, a cool air current is passed over the fiber, causing it to harden. Failure to maintain constant feeding speed of molten polymer or changes in the temperature of cooling will cause irregularities in the diameter of the fiber. Nylon and polyester are the most common melt-spun fibers. One of the latest developments in melt spinning has been the significant increase in spinning speeds. Processing speed has increased from less than 1,000 meters per minute in the 1960s to over 7,000 meters per minute today. This is the equivalent of a car traveling over 250 miles per hour. Higher-speed spinning is cost-effective and up to a certain point increases the orientation of the polymers in the fibers. Beyond a speed of about 6500 meters per minute, however, this advantage disappears as there is not enough time for the polymers to crystallize and the fibers may break.
In dry spinning the fiber solution is forced through the spinneret into a warm air chamber. The warm air causes the solvent used to make the fiber solution evaporate & the filament fibers are formed & hardened. This process, too may involve converting the fiber polymer into a different chemical form that is soluble in a suitable liquid As the solvent evaporate, the fiber polymer is reconstituted & return to its original chemical form, but now it is in a filament shape.
Many polymers are adversely affected by heat at or close to their melting temperatures. Polymers that cannot be melt spun undergo other methods of spinning, such as dry spinning, to produce filaments. Dry spinning requires the dissolving of the polymer in a solvent to convert it into liquid form. Substances used as solvents are chosen not only because they will dissolve the polymer but also because they are safe and can be reclaimed and reused.
The polymer and solvent are extruded through a spinneret into a circulating current of hot gas that evaporates the solvent from the polymer and causes the filament to harden. The solvent is removed and recycled to be used again. Dry-spun filaments generally have an irregular cross section. Because the solvent evaporates first from the outside of the fiber, a hard surface skin of solid polymer forms. As the solvent evaporates from the inner part of the fiber, this skin “collapses” or folds to produce an irregular shape. If the rate of evaporation is slowed, the cross section of the filament will be more nearly round. Acetate fibers and some acrylic fibers are dry spun.
Fibers formed are: acetate, triacetate, acrylic, modacrylic, aramid fibers.