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Blended Fiber Analysis

Types and methods of blended and mixed fibers

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Blended yarns usually offer the best of several worlds i,e the breathability of wool or cotton, the durability of acrylic or nylon. Blends take dye differently and offer different color effects as well.Fiber blending has for a long time been practiced in textile processing. By mixing fibers of different types to form textile yarns, many advantages are achieved, such as property compensation or reinforcement between fibers, cost reduction without significant sacrifice of yarn performance.

Blended fibres/blends combine 2 or more fibre substances into a single fibre strand or yarn with modified or changed properties and appearance of the fibre, yarn or fabric. Each fibre has a separate set of physical and aesthetic characteristics inherent in its design. The blended fibres are made to create the kind of fibre required to meet the specific needs of the industry.

Fibre blends have their own characteristics depending upon the type and the percentage of the specific fibres used. Each fibre in a blend adds not only favourable properties but also undesirable properties. Fibre blends, however, utilize the advantages of all fibre to counteract the disadvantages of every single fibre. Man-made fibres can be blended with one or more other fibres, either natural or man-made.

Blended Fibre

The most common example of this is the cotton polyester blend. Cotton is a cool, soft, strong, comfortable fabric and polyester is hard-wearing, lightweight, a poor absorber and elastic; combining them in one fabric gives the comfort and cool feel of cotton but which the hard-wearing, quick-drying and crease-resisting properties of polyester. It is easy to see why this is a popular blend.

Many other combinations are also desirable. For example, blending wool with nylon will make it more hard-wearing and it will be an easier fabric to care for. For these reasons, this combination is often used in carpeting. Silk is a very expensive fibre, but blended with polyester or one of the regenerated fibres, it becomes much cheaper to produce and can be easier to wash.

Many of the regenerated fibres are blended with synthetic fibres as they can be manufactured to an exact specification for a particular purpose, for use in many industrial products.

Mixed Fibre

A mixed fibre is where one type of yarn is mixed with at least one other in fabric production.

A common example is the mix of cotton yarns with Lycra yarns to give extra stretch and comfort to denim jeans, fitted shirts and swimwear. Mixes can also be made for aesthetic reasons such as in two-tone fabrics: for example, silk taffeta using black and red yarns to give the desired effect, or denim jeans with a blue and which yarns.

Mixed Fibre Yarn Analysis

Mixed fibre yarns are a combination of two or more strands of different fibres to form one yarn. Mixed fibre yarn may:

  • Be of any conventional or novelty construction
  • Contain two or more piles
  • Contain equal or unequal fibre percentages
  • Be of any twist tension desired
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Classification of Mixed Fibre Yarns

Mixed fibre yarns are classified as spun blended yarns, blended ply yarns and mixture/combination yarns.

  1. Spun blend yarns: Fibres from two or more textile sources are spun into a yarn. Spun blends may be of equal or unequal fibre percentages.
  2. Blended ply yarns: Different fibre yarns are twisted together to form one yarn.
  3. Mixture/Combination Yarn: Yarn utilizing two or more different types of different fibre contents.

Reasons for Blended and Mixed Fibres

Blended fibres and mixed yarn fabrics are produced for the following reasons:

  1. To improve the appearance of a fabric (i.e. texture, colour, and tone)
  2. To improve the quality of the fabric so that it is more durable, stronger, and can be more easily cared for
  3. To improve the handle of fabric so that it drapes better is easier to sew and can keep its shape well
  4. To improve the profitability of fabric so that it is cheaper to produce, and more desirable to customers.

Methods for Blending Fibres

There are 3 different methods used for blending fibres:

  1. Opening method: Fibres are fed into the machine alternately from two or more bales.
  2. Roving method: Different fibre strands are combined and twisted together drawing the slivers to a size suitable for spinning.
  3. Spinning method: The combing of two strands twisted into a single yarn. Long finer fibres migrate towards the centre while shorter fibres remain to the outside.

New blends and mixes of fibres and fabrics

Manufacturers have been developing new fibres and fabrics since the first animal skin was used, and research and development continue each year. Different combinations give a wide range of fabrics for designers and consumers to choose from and improvements in this are always being made. New green fibres from plants and other natural sustainable sources, such as leaves and vegetables, are constantly being tested.

Peat has been used in Scandinavia to make the fibres that are rather like wool and felt; a company called Kultaturve has developed and designed a range of clothing for these fibres.

Most of these fibres can be blended and mixed with other fibres to improve their qualities; the peat fibre is often blended with other natural fibres to enhance its natural characteristics.

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