Carpet Yarns and Fibers

Natural Fibers

Any discussion of carpet fibers would be incomplete if it did not begin with wool.  Wool has a warmth and durability that all other fibers try to imitate. As a natural fiber wool absorbs dyes well, which gives it excellent color retention and good stain resistance when spills are treated promptly.  Wool’s overlapping scale construction allows the fibers in the yarn to interlock giving wool carpets excellent crush resistance and resilience, maintaining its style and texture for many years.

Unfortunately, because of the extensive labor required to harvest and prepare for use, wool is quite expensive when compared to other fibers.  While not equaled, the developing technology of synthetic fibers has produced some excellent carpet yarns.

Synthetic Yarn

Today there are three carpet fibers that dominate the carpeting market: Polyester, Nylon and Olefin or polypropylenes.  Stay tuned for our next blog, we will be introducing the next generation of carpet which is storming the market.  Before we begin our discussion about the individual yarns lets consider how they are produced.

All synthetic yarns are manufactured from oil and its byproducts. While the individual processes vary, at some point they all end u as a liquid that is forced, or extruded, through tiny holes or injectors and cooled into a long strand, or filament.  These filaments are then twisted together to create yarn.  Yarn manufactured in this manner is called continuous filament because each filament of the yarn runs its entire length.  If a velvet look is desired in a finished carpet, the individual strands of the yarn may be cut into short lengths, between two and six inches, then twisted together to create what is called a staple yarn. After the yarn filaments have been twisted together they are heated almost to the melting point in a process called “heat setting.”  This process sets the twist of the yarn creating a coil-spring effect which holds the yarn filaments together and allows the yarn to spring back to its original shape after being stepped on.  This spring back capability gives a yarn its resilience.

A carpet manufactured with a continuous filament heat-set yarn will give its owner a long wearing, very resilient floor which will not fuzz or pill, although it will not have the softness or velvet look of a staple.  Many heavy plushes are made of staple yarns and are soft and velvety, but can fuzz of pill.  The amount of fuzzing of pilling is dependent upon the length of the yarn filaments and the quality of the heat-setting process.

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