- Art silk
Artificial silk or (as the term is used in the
textileindustry) "Art silk" is a synthetic manufactured fiberwhich resembles silkbut costs less to produce.
The first successful artificial silks were developed in the 1890s of cellulose (wood) fiber and marketed as "art silk" or "viscose", a trade name for a specific manufacture. [cite web |url=http://www.fibersource.com/f-tutor/history.htm |title=A Short History of Manufactured Fibers |accessdate=2008-06-11 |format= |work= ] In 1924, the name of the fiber was officially changed in the U.S. to
rayon, although the term "viscose" continued to be used in Europe and currently the material is referred to in the industry as "viscose rayon". [cite web |url=http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/5538.html |title=Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet: Rayon—The Multifaceted Fiber |accessdate=2008-06-11 |format= |work= ]
Although not sold under the name "art silk" initially,
nylon, the first synthetic fiber, was developed in the United Statesin the late 1930s and used as a replacement for Japanese silk during World War II. Its properties are far superior to rayon and silk when wet, and so it was used for many military applications, such as parachutes. Although nylon is not a good substitute for silk fabric in appearance, it is a successful functional alternative. Du Pont's original plans for nylon to become a cheaper and superior replacement for silk stockings[See [http://invention.smithsonian.org/centerpieces/whole_cloth/u7sf/u7materials/nylonpr1.html Du Pont's Press release on Nylon in 1938] which claimed nylon was "strong as steel" and the "first man-made organic textile prepared from raw materials of the mineral kingdom."] were soon realized [ [http://invention.smithsonian.org/centerpieces/whole_cloth/u7sf/u7materials/act4_3.html "Nylon Sellout," "Newsweek," May 27, 1940, pp. 65-66.] ] , then redirected for military use [ [http://invention.smithsonian.org/centerpieces/whole_cloth/u7sf/u7materials/act4_5.html "Stocking Panic," "Business Week", August 9, 1941.] ] [ [http://invention.smithsonian.org/centerpieces/whole_cloth/u7sf/u7materials/act4_6.html "Hosiery Woes," "Business Week", February 7, 1942.] ] just two years later during World War II. Nylon became a prominent industrial fiber in a short time frame, permanently replacing silk in many applications.
In the present day, imitation silk may be made with
rayon[ [http://www.a2zcarpet.com/oriental/sect21.htm http://www.a2zcarpet.com/oriental/sect21.htm] ] , mercerized cotton[ [http://www.bukhara-carpets.com/making/glossary_a.html http://www.bukhara-carpets.com/making/glossary_a.html] ] , polyester[ [http://www.csnrugs.com/asp/show_content.asp?CpID=14#A http://www.csnrugs.com/asp/show_content.asp?CpID=14#A] ] , a blend of these materials, or a blend of rayon and silk.
Despite a generally similar appearance, genuine silk has unique features that are distinguishable from artificial silk. However, in some cases art silk can be passed off as real silk to unwary buyers. A number of tests are available to determine a fabric's basic fiber makeup, some of which can be performed prior to purchasing a fabric whose composition is questionable. See the external links section below.
The burn test and other methods for fiber identification::* [http://www.rebeccablood.net/domestic/fiber_content_tests.html Fiber Content Tests] :* [http://www.jacobsenrugs.com/silk-rug.htm Is Your Silk Oriental Rug Made of Real Silk?] :* [http://www.fabrics.net/fabricsr.asp Fabric Identification] See [http://invention.smithsonian.org/centerpieces/whole_cloth/u7sf/u7materials/sfPac4.html The Stocking Story: You Be the Historian] at the Smithsonian website.
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