Artificial Silk

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Definition of Artificial Silk

It is a fibre obtained by treating wood pulp chemically
It is called rayon or artificial silk

More About Artificial Silk

  • It is a fibre having properties similar to that of silk
  • Fabric obtained from silk was very costly
  • Attempts were made to manufacture silk artificially
  • The fibre has properties similar to that of silk
  • It is cheaper than silk and can be woven like silk fibres
  • It can also be dyed in a wide variety of colours
  • Although rayon is obtained from a natural source wood pulp, it is artificial or man made
  • Rayon is mixed with cotton to make bed sheets or with wool to make carpets
  • The texture of silk fascinated everybody but silk was expensive
  • Silk fibre obtained from silkworm was kept as a closely guarded secret for a long time
  • It led to the preparation of artificial silk
  • It was developed in the United States in the late 1930s and used as a replacement for Japanese silk
  • Its properties are far superior to rayon and silk when wet
  • Artificial silk was used for many military applications
  • In the present day, imitation silk may be made with rayon, mercerized cotton, polyester or a blend of rayon and silk
  • For making yarn, it depends on the material you begin with, most yarn is pull so that the fibers are fairly straight and then twisted into long strings. The strings are then twisted together with other strings to make the yarn
  • The production of spider silk is not simple and there are inherent problems
  • Spiders cannot be farmed like silkworms since they are cannibals and will eat each other if in close proximity
  • The silk produced is very fine so 400 spiders would be needed to produce only one square yard of cloth

Uses of Artificial Silk:

Spider silk is 100 times stronger than natural ligaments and 10 times stronger than natural tendons; it is stronger than Kevlar and more elastic than nylon
Artificial silk is used in:

  • Bullet-proof clothing
  • Wear-resistant lightweight clothing
  • Ropes, nets, seat belts, parachutes
  • Rust-free panels on motor vehicles or boats
  • Biodegradable bottles
  • Bandages, surgical thread
  • Artificial tendons or ligaments, supports for weak blood vessels
  • For many military applications, such as parachutes
  • To create artificial blood vessels and ligaments, as well as dissolvable sutures