Petroleum Products: Synthetic Fabrics


So far, we’ve looked primarily at products used in the office and the bathroom that are made of petroleum components. Today, we’re not quite going skin deep, but we will graze the surface. The product of the day is clothing.

We all have clothes in our closet with 100 percent cotton stamped on the inner label, but more and more clothing items these days are being made of synthetic fibers. Think stretch jeans and jeggings, swimsuits and nylons.

Pretty much everything is stretch these days, and one could assume that’s either because yoga is taking the nation by storm or because we’re looking for a way to expand dress sizes without making the numbers go up.

Synthetic fibers are made from petroleum polymers and are often less expensive than their natural plant and animal counterparts. These synthetics first appeared on the scene with an artificial silk in 1894, and other fibers were developed throughout the 20th century, such as Rayon, Nylon, Acrylic and Polyester.

There are a number of advantages to synthetic materials. They tend to be more stain resistant, they also dry easily and are easier to maintain. On the downside, they tend to be more flammable and less heat-resistant.

Here’s a video on how polyester is made from recycled plastic bottles.



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