Information about carpet fibres. Use the back arrow on your browser to return to the previous page

Although many different types of fibre and fibre blends can be used in carpet manufacture, synthetic fibres can be produced which enhance the aesthetic properties of the carpet and that utilise optical effects to hide dirt particles. Fluorochemical treatments can also be applied to the surfaces of such fibres so that they resist soiling and staining in use. Nylon, polypropylene and polyester are examples of polymers used to make fibres. Originally fibres with a round cross section were used but these acted an cylindical lenses magnifying dirt trapped between them. Very fine particulate materials such as titanium dioxode were then added to the polymer before it was spun into fibre to delustre it and scatter incident light thereby lessening this magnifying effect but this made the colour of dyed fibres appear dull.

Fibres with different cross sections were then spun and used in carpets. Trilobal shaped fibres were found to be very effective in reducing the soiling of carpets and giving them an attractive sparkle. Fibres with circular cross section act like convex lenses, magnifying dirt particles trapped between the fibres of the carpet. With fibres possessing a trilobal cross section however, the opposite optical effect is acheived with the fibres acting as concave lenses and demagnifying any particle of dirt trapped in one of the lobes. Similar effects were found with hollow synthetic fibres and these also added thermal insulation properties. DuPont makes these fibres and markets them under the tradname of Antron fibres.

The technology required is spin synthetic fibrres is complex because the spinnerettes through which the molten polymer is extruded comprise an array of very tiny holes. In fact the geometry of the holes is critical to successful spinning and has to be very precisely controlled. Very high pressures are utilised in extruding the viscous molten polymers through these tiny orifices and this requires a detailed knowledge of the flow properties (rheology) of the polymer. By extruding the polymer through orifices with different geometries it is possible to produce hollow fibres and fibres with different cross sectional shapes. Once spun the fibres are further drawn down whilst the poolymer is still soft and this process makes them much finer.