polymer fibres (rus. волокна, полимерные) — fibres derived from natural and synthetic polymers.


Polymer fibres are traditionally classified into natural, artificial and synthetic.

Natural fibres are the fibres generated in natural conditions. With origin determining their chemical composition they are further classified into vegetable and animal fibres. Vegetable fibres (e.g. cotton) are composed of cellulose or, to a lesser extent, of hemicellulose and lignin. Animal fibres, wool and silk, are made up of protein (carotene).

Artificial fibres are fibres produced by the chemical processing of natural polymers. This group includes viscose, acetate, protein and alginate fibres. Sulphite or sulphate wood pulp is used as a raw material for production of viscose and acetate fibres. Artificial fibres are produced in the form of textile and cord (for manufacturing of automobile tires) filaments, or as staple fibres, which are processed together with other fibres to form different tissues.

Synthetic fibres are fibres formed from synthetic polymers (polyamides, polyesters, polyacrylonitrile, polyolefins, polyvinyl chloride, polyvinyl alcohol, etc.). Usual raw materials for production of chemical fibres are polymers consisting of flexible macromolecules, characterised by their linear or weakly branched structure, large molecular weight (above 15,000 amu) and rather narrow molecular weight distribution. Synthetic fibres, depending on the type, can be characterised by their high strength, high relative elongation, elasticity, rapid recovery and low residual strain after unloading, resistance to repeated and alternating loads. Therefore, apart from the textile industry, they are used as reinforcing elements in the production of composites.

The recent years have seen a steady growth of developments of new synthetic polymer fibres, e.g. para-aramid (Kevlar, Twaron, Armas), polyethylene (Spectra, Dyneema), combined fibres with core-shell structure, heat-resistant polyimide fibres, as well as fibres based on different carbo- or heterocyclic polymers with various nano- and micro- particles, such as silver and other metals, etc.


  • Goldt Ilya V.
  • Nazarov Victor G.


  1. Encyclopedia of polymers (in Russian). — Moscow: Sovetskaja ehnciklopedija, 1972–1977.
  2. Pakhomov P.M. Polymer fibers stronger than steel (in Russian) // Khimija i zhizn'. 2002. No6. — http://files.school-collection.edu.ru/dlrstore/c553e20d-7b61-2594-8698-a7f627026397/10-13_06_2002.pdf (reference date: 12.12.2011).
  3. Budnickijj G. A. Polymer fibers of the third generation: development, properties and applications (in Russian) // Tekhnicheskijj tekstil'. 2004. No10. — www.rustm.net/catalog/article/397.html (reference date: 12.12.2011).

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