Artificial fibers are a material produced in the laboratory used for creating circular knitted fabrics. However, unlike synthetic fibers, these are made from organic, natural raw substances.
The most common element used for the production of artificial fibers is cellulose, reason why many of these may also be known as regenerated cellulosic fibers. Cellulose is a natural substance obtained from either wood or cotton plant.
During the production process, cellulose undergoes addition processes and chemical reactions which culminate with the creation of new artificial fibers.
Like synthetic ones, artificial fibers were created to simulate and improve the properties of natural ones. In other words, although the source can be found in nature, they are reconstituted in an artificial way. This reconstitution allows to reinforce some of their best characteristics, such as the intensity of the color, greater resistance to the effects of light, and its absorption capacity.
Their popularization grew in parallel with the exponential increase of the population, which began to demand all kinds of products at a lower cost and in a faster fashion.
At the same time, these have also helped reduce the textile industry's dependence on agricultural production, especially at a time when the effects of climate change are beginning to be felt all over the world.
To better understand what artificial fibers are, it is important to know what natural fibers are as well.
Very briefly, natural fibers are those that find their origin in nature, namely in plants or animals. The best known are cotton (plant) and wool (animal). The other two types, whether artificial or synthetic, are necessarily produced in the laboratory.
Both former and latter are developed to simulate or improve the properties of natural fibers.
The artificial fibers are then produced from some natural raw materials but are subsequently treated, manipulated, and improved chemically in a laboratory.
As such, even if their origin is effectively in nature, the various processes they undergo make it impossible to qualify artificial fibers as “natural”. The first of its type to be discovered was Viscose, at the end of the XIX century. This is one of the most popular types of man-made fibers today. But there are dozens more.
As the oldest of the artificial fibers, Viscose is, therefore, the best known in the market. It is produced from cellulose, the same natural raw material that gives originates two other types of artificial fibers: Modal and Lyocell, also known as Tencel.
Modal is the result of the same type of process by which Viscose is obtained. However, some of the substances involved are different, as are the times, temperatures, and quantities needed for the purpose.
The same happens with Lyocell. But its recognition is more associated alongside its biodegradable properties, making Lyocell an environmentally responsible choice. Its alternative name – Tencel – is due to the company responsible for its original development and its registration under that name.
At ITJV, you can find circular knitted fabrics created with these artificial fibers, but also in bamboo fiber, Seacell, Cupro, Cell Solution, among others.
Artificial fibers have some unique properties. Their strength is their most immediately recognizable. Despite this, because their origin is also natural, the vast majority of artificial fibers tend to be biodegradable.
In other words, artificial fibers present themselves as more sustainable solutions for the production of items that respond well to the most current concerns of consumers.
In addition to their strength and biodegradability, they are also known for their soft touch and color retention ability.
They do not require great care, except for the fact that they must be ironed at low temperatures, without steam. Finally, they do not absorb perspiration, although they retain some odors.
Circular knitted fabrics made from artificial fibers are widely used to create the most diverse types of pieces. Their chemical composition allows the simulation of the characteristics obtained in natural fibers, but at a lower production cost.
However, it is when artificial fibers mix with natural ones that their performance really fulfills the needs of consumers, including those associated with sustainability.
At ITJV, artificial fibers are only available through catalogue request and sample validation.
This text was written and published in 2021