Synthetic fibers , also known as synthetic fibres (in British English; see spelling differences) are fibers made by humans via chemical synthesis, in contrast to natural fibers which are directly created from living organisms such as plant fibers (like cotton) or fur of animals. They result from extensive research by scientists to replicate naturally occurring plant and animal fibers. They are produced by extruding fiber-forming substances through spinnerets, creating a fiber like Aluminium extrusion. These are known as synthetic or synthetic fibers. The term “polymer” comes from a Greek suffix “poly” which translates to “many” and suffix “mer” which is a reference to “single units”. (Note that each piece of polymer is classified as monomer).
The first fiber that was fully synthetic was glass. Joseph Swan invented one of the first artificial fibers in the early 1880s which is now called semisynthetic based on the specific usage. The fiber was made from a liquid of cellulose produced by chemically altering tree bark’s fiber. The synthetic fiber created through this process was chemically similar in its possible applications to the carbon filament Swan designed to power its incandescent lamp but Swan was quick to realize that the possibility of using the filament to revolutionize textile manufacturing. In 1885, he unveiled the fabrics he created from this synthetic substance at the International Inventions Exhibition in London.
This next move was taken by Hilaire de Chardonnet who was an French engineer and industrialist, who developed the first artificial silk, which he called “Chardonnet silk”. In the late 1870s Chardonnet was working together with Louis Pasteur on a remedy to the epidemic that was killing French silkworms. The failure to remove an accident in the darkroom resulted in Chardonnet’s discovery nitrocellulose as a potential replacement for genuine silk. Recognizing the importance of such a discovery, Chardonnet began to develop his own product, which he displayed in the Paris Exhibition of 1889. Chardonnet’s product was extremely explosive, and it was eventually was replaced by other, more durable substances.