Acrylic Fiber

One of the main uses of acrylonitrile is as a (co-)monomer in the synthesis of acrylic fiber. In knitted fashion garments (e.g. sweaters, socks, sportswear) it is valued for a number of reasons. As well as a lightweight softness, it has a tactile warmth that is comparable to wool. It is also much easier to dye than wool, retaining bright, eye-catching colours over time.

Despite its chemical origin, acrylic fibre has a lower environmental impact than either wool or cotton, with a much longer lifetime and durability. This durability also makes it ideal for top-end, high-quality, outdoor furniture, awnings and sunshades. Interestingly, the distinctive ‘soft-tops’ of modern convertibles can only be realised by using acrylic fibre.

Acrylic fibres contain at least 85% of the acrylonitrile (AN) monomer; fibres containing 35-85% AN are known as modacrylic fibres. They can be copolymerised with vinyl chloride or vinylidene chloride, for use in flame retardant curtains and airline blankets. Because of the specific sheen of these fibres they are also used in wigs and artificial fur.

Acrylic Fiber are used in:

  • Fashion garments (bright colors and soft touch)
  • Furniture and carpets
  • Durable outdoor textiles (color fastness & weather resistance)
  • Chemical-resistant clothing
  • Tennis-ball finishing
  • Filter materials (for clean air environments)
  • Tarmac and concrete reinforcement