Attempt to produce man-made fibre was first started with Artificial Silk' at 1855 in England by Swiss chemist named Audemars. The fibrous inner bark of mulberry tree was then chemically modified to produce cellulose. At 1880s, sir Joseph Swan an English chemist experimented by forcing the cellulose liquid through fine holes into a coagulating bath.
First commercial production of artificial fibre was achieved by French chemist Count Hilaire de chardonnet at 1889 in France. At that time he produced artificial silk. Two years later he built a rayon plant and secured hi name as "father of the rayon industry". In the mean time several attempts were made by the Americans, but they failed until American viscose company formed by Samuel Courtalauds and co ltd. began its rayon production in 1910. By the mid of 1920s Rayon fibre was being used increasingly by the textile industry, not because of better quality but because of its low price.
In 1931 American chemist Wallace Carothers first discovered nylon fibre. Unlike rayon and acetate which were derived from plant cellulose, nylon was produced completely from synthetic polymers. At that time he was working for Dupont. Dupont started commercial production of nylon in 1939.Although the first nylon product was toothbrush, it was not successful. The most successful nylon product was ladies tights during the World War II.
During the war nylon replaced Asian silk in parachutes. By the 1950s man-made fibres took 20% of the fibre needs with another fibre called Acrylic. Meanwhile another fibre named polyester was invented in Britain by condensation polymerization of ethylene glycol with terephthalic acid. The best thing about polyester is its strength. The suitability of polyester over nylon helped it to occupy 54% of the textile market. So, by the 1953 the majority of man-made fibres were discovered. After that some new fibres also invented such as bullet stopping Kevler, and fire and electricity proof Nomex....
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