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History of fibre development

By : Mr. Rajan Jha and Mr. Kunal Deshmukh
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Different kinds of fibres are available now-a-days. These fibres are mainly divided into two categories natural and man made. They are also categorized by the generations as they were produced in the different years and known as first generation, second generation, third generation or fourth generation fibres. This is given in the below chart:

History of man made fibres

The fibres generated first were the natural fibres. In this category cotton, wool, silk and all other animal and plant fibres are included. These fibres were introduced first 4000 years back but their uses were continued till 1940. All these fibres are known as first generation fibres. Very delicate handling is needed for these fibres. Fibres like silks and cottons have not good resistance against moths, wrinkles, wear and washings. So discovery of durable fibres was a greater need and about one century ago first synthesized fibres Rayon/Nylon were produced. These fibres are cheaper in comparison with natural ones. The development of these new fibres opened up fibre application to the various fields like medicine, aeronautics, home furnishing and modern apparels. Fibre engineers produced many new fibres by combining new synthetic fibres with the natural ones.
In the year 1664 the first attempt was done to make artificial fibre, but success was achieved after 200 years only. A Swiss chemist Audemars first patented artificial fibre in England in 1855. He produced that by dissolving the fibrous inner bark of the mulberry tree and produced cellulose by modifying it chemically. He made threads from the solution by dripping needle in the solution and then drawing them out. His attempt was good but he could not copy the silkworm. He had done experiments with the solution similar to Audemars solution.

French chemist Hilaire de Chardonnet was the first one to produce artificial silk commercially in the year 1889. Later on he was known as father of rayon industry because he was the first to produce rayon commercially on large scales.

All the attempts of producing artificial silk failed till the year 1900 but in the year 1910 Samuel Courtaulds and Co. Ltd, formed the American Viscose Company and did production of rayon.

Arthur D. Little of Boston made a film from acetate which is a cellulosic product in the year 1983 and in the year 1910 Henry Dreyfus and Camille made toilet articles and motion picture film from acetate in Switzerland. In the year 1924 Celanese Company made fibre from the acetate and it was the very first use of acetate in the textile industry. At that time the demand of rayon was high because it was available on the half of the price than raw silk to the textile manufacturers so U.S. rayon production flourished to meet those higher demands.

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