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07 Clothing Materials: Microfibers


This article is from the Running FAQ, by Ozzie Gontang with numerous contributions by others.

07 Clothing Materials: Microfibers

Man-made: available in acrylic, nylon, polyester and rayon.

* Washable, dry cleanable Shrink-resistant
* High strength (except Rayon) Insulates well against wind, rain, cold
Major End Uses: sportswear, activewear,swimwear, outerwear, rainwear.

Micro-fibers is not a fiber unto itself. It is a technology developed to
produce an ultra-fine fiber, and then weave it or knit it into a very high
quality fabric constructions. DuPont introduced the first microfiber in
1989, a polyester microfiber. Today in addition to polyester microfibers,
there are also nylon microfibers that have become important in the
pantyhose market, rayon microfibers, and acrylic microfibers.

An important characteristic of microfiber fabrics: they can be woven so
tightly so the fabric can't be penetrated by wind, rain, or cold. For this
reason, raincoat manufacturers have become big users of polyester
microfibers. Microfibers also have a wicking ability, which allows
perspiration to pass through. So they're comfortable to wear.

Nov. '96 RW (pp.48-52) evaluted 12 underlayer shirts for keeping you
comfortable wicking away sweat to the exterior surface of the fabric.
Polyester has been treated (hydrophillic chemical) and altered
(electrostatic evaporation process, differing inner/outer surfaces) to
enhance its wicking ability.

Some names: Capilene, BiPolar 100 polyester, BiPolar 200 polyester, Dri-F.I.T.
Dacron is the trademark name for Dupont polyester. Woven fabric made from
dacron is similar to nylon ripstop or taffeta, but not as stretchy. Many of
the better clothing insulations are made from dacron. They are usually
referred to by more specific trademark names, like quallofil, hollofil,
polarguard, and dacron-88.


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