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materials processing

Fabric production and material processing is a step in the life cycle of a garment that consumes a significant amount of energy. In this stage, the raw material described above is turned into a fabric. For synthetic fibres, this means turning it into a yarn, and then either weaving or knitting it. A lot of fibres can also be made into non-wovens, or in the case of leathers, this step is completely different. 


Vertically integrated facilities will generally blend their pre-consumer and post-industrial waste into their products at this stage too and like we learned in the raw materials stage, we want to continue to increase the amount of recycled fibres in our clothes :) But let's keep them microplastic free.

Fabric Production from Fibres ⤵
Extruding Synthetic Fibres


The creation of synthetic fibres is a fascinating journey from raw material to textiles. Unlike their natural counterparts, synthetic fibres begin as chemical solutions derived primarily from petrochemicals. This process, known as extrusion, transforms these solutions into the countless synthetic fibres that populate our wardrobes and homes.


+ Melting or Dissolving: The first step in extruding synthetic fibres involves melting or dissolving the polymer. For example, nylon and polyester are melted, whereas acrylics might be dissolved in a solvent to create a thick solution.


+ Spinning: Once in liquid form, the polymer solution is forced through a spinneret—think of a honey-like substance going through a showerhead with multiple tiny holes. As the solution extrudes through these holes, it forms long, continuous filaments.


+ Cooling and Solidifying: The emerging filaments are then cooled, either by air or water, causing them to solidify into fine threads.


+ Drawing: To enhance their strength and elasticity, the solidified fibres are stretched, or "drawn," which aligns the polymer molecules within the fibres. This process can increase the fibre's strength significantly.


+ Texturing: Synthetic fibres are often texturized to give them certain characteristics, such as the soft hand of natural fibres or specific performance qualities. Texturing can create fibres that mimic the feel of cotton, wool, or silk.

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