So what are the advantages and disadvantages of metallic fibers? What is the history of metallic fibers? What are the applications of metallic fibers? This article will be talking about all you need to know about metallic fibers.
One of the oldest and most popular materials used to make clothing, is metallic fibers. Metallic fibers can be very lightweight, including being able to produce lightness while being strong enough to withstand wear and tear over time.
The textured surface provides an additional level of protection from dirt, dust, or any other outside elements that may harm clothing. There are also certain types (such as metal lace) that offer an elegant appearance without weighing anything down on your outfit.
History Of Metallic Fibers
What Are Metallic Fibers?
Metallic Fibers are materials that have been used to create textured and decorated garments over the years. Traditionally, this was done using metal, but with the modern age of clothing fabrication, metallic fibers have evolved and are now being used in a wide range of areas.
Metallic fibers are manufactured fibers composed of metal, metallic alloys, plastic-coated metal, metal-coated plastic, or a core completely covered by metal. Most fibers being used today are metallic.
The history of metallic fibers dates back to an ancient civilization in China. Metallic fibers were first made from gold, which looks as shiny as its name sounds.
Gold and silver have been used since ancient times as decoration in the clothing and textiles of kings, leaders, nobility and people of status. Many of these elegant textiles can be found in museums around the world.
Historically, the metallic thread was constructed by wrapping a metal strip around a fiber core (cotton or silk), often in such a way as to reveal the color of the fiber core to enhance visual quality of the decoration.
Metallic fibers were brought about as a result of polymer science and the development of plastics. Some chemists and scientists confused metallic fibers with another product known as “mesh”, which is different from metallic fibers because it is essentially a fabric made of multiple threads that has been strengthened using a metallic wire, like steel or aluminium.
The very first metallic fibers known to have been created were in 16th century and were made in Germany. These very first metallic fibers were made using silver and gold metals and were used for decorative lace making.
Having their origin in textile and clothing applications, gold and silver fibers have been used since ancient times as yarns for fabric decoration. As decorative fibers, metallic yarns are more expensive than their textile yarn counterparts. To acquire a fabric made of silver and gold yarns, a very delicate and time-consuming manufacturing process is required.
Following the development of iron, steel and aluminium alloys, similar metallic fibers were manufactured in the 19th century in Germany as well. By the 20th century, almost every industrialized nation was being involved in the manufacturing of metallic fibers.
Today’s metal fiber industry mainly offers fibers in stainless steel, nickel, titanium, copper and aluminium for various applications. Metallic filaments can be coated with transparent films to minimize tarnishing.
Metal fibers exists in different forms and diameters. Generally, the sector offers metal fiber diameters from 100μm down to 1μm.
Metallic fibers exists in both long, continuous fibers as well as short fibers (with a length/diameter ratio of less than 100).
What Are Metallic Fibers Created With?
Metallic Fibers can be created from a variety of different materials, including stainless steel, aluminium, steel, nickel, titanium or copper.
Metal is usually the base material for metallic fibers and it is the most common type of material that is used for textile manufacturing production.
Metallic fibers can also be made from aluminum, nickel, or titanium. Additionally, metallic fibers can be created with various alloys of these metals. Titanium is one of the most common metallic fibers used today for decorative applications.
Stainless steel is another common material used in making metallic fibers. Stainless steel is readily available and inexpensive to manufacture, compared to other metals such as titanium and copper.
Nickel-based metallic fibers are not very common because the nickel has a tendency to cause corrosion over time and may cause metal fatigue when exposed to friction.
Metallic fibers can also be made from copper or brass. Brass and copper fibers are excellent choices for high-end cloths because they are very strong, durable and also beautiful.
Metal Fibers can also be created with various alloys of these metals. For instance, stainless steel is made with a combination of iron and other metals such as chromium or molybdenum.
Now we know about the history of metallic fibers, let’s dive into the advantages and disadvantages of metallic fibers.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Metallic Fibers
Moving on to the advantages and disadvantages of metallic fibers, we will be looking firstly at the advantages of metallic fibers and then later to its disadvantages.
Advantages Of Metallic Fibers
- Metallic fibers have a high tensile strength, which means they are very hard to tear. Metals such as stainless steel and nickel can be used in applications that require an extremely long life span.
- Metallic Fiber clothes are lightweight, which makes them excellent for travel purposes as well. Because of their thinner fibers, metallic fiber clothes feel more comfortable against the skin and do not lead to unwanted drag or friction.
- Metallic fiber clothes also breathe much better than its textile counterparts (they do not trap heat like cotton or linen) which helps regulate body temperature during warmer climates.
- Metallic Fiber is also fire-resistant, which makes it an excellent choice for protective clothing materials. The metal fibers can withstand extreme high temperatures without any damage to the fabric itself.
Disadvantages Of Metallic Fibers
- Metallic fiber clothes are much more expensive than their textile counterparts (fibers made from cotton and linen).
- To create metallic fiber clothes, advanced textile manufacturing techniques are required and generally speaking, a textile manufacturer has more experience in manufacturing textile based fabrics.
- The viscosity and molten flow behavior of some metals are not suitable for creating extremely complex geometries or shapes.
- Metallic yarns are also more difficult to weave than their textile counterparts as they do not flop or collapse like cotton or linen when doing so, so it is necessary to weave them into an intricate pattern.
Processing And Forming Metallic Fibers
Metallic fibers are usually processed in order to form them into a shape, depending on the shape required by the end-user. The shape is usually formed by either cutting, threading or twisting the metallic fibers together to create a desired shape.
Metallic fiber is typically woven into a fabric by a weaver. A weaver can weave the fibers in any pattern desired. The metallic fiber is usually made into a fabric by either cutting, threading or twisting the metallic fibers together to create a desired shape.
The process of weaving metallic fibers is called as ‘winding’ and it is performed by twisting the metallic yarns together and is done in such a way that each yarn passes beneath two previous threads (weave). All the metallic fibers are then aligned at one end and driven through holes formed in an infeed and outfeed roller during the weaving process.
Metallic fibers can also be processed by cold drawing. Cold drawing of metals is a process where a continuous metallic yarn is drawn through a die. The metallic yarn is stretched in order to form the final shape.
Metallic fibers can also be twisted together to create a metallic yarn, which is formed during the twisting process of the various types of metal fibers (e.g., twist 30% nickel and 70% stainless steel).
A metallic yarn created from this process usually consists of smaller diameter fibers (of less than 1mm) that are mixed in equal proportion with each other, but higher proportions are also possible.
Having known the history, advantages and disadvantages, and the process and forming of metallic fibers, let’s check out on the applications of metallic fibers.
Applications Of Metallic Fibers
Metallic fiber is most commonly used in the manufacturing of clothing, however it is also used for other applications as well.
- Protective Clothing – Metallic fibers can be used to make protective gear, including suitcases, helmets and fire-resistant blanket material.
- Decorative Clothing – Metallic fibers are often found in luxurious clothing, such as wedding gowns, lingerie and high-end home furnishings.
- Medical Devices – Metallic fibers are sometimes used in medical implants and instruments due to their resistance to corrosion, especially gold and titanium alloys (the latter is also biocompatible).
- Electronics – Metallic fibers are often used as conductors and components in the electronics industry.
Metallic fibers have slowly become a popular choice for textile manufacturers and designers because of the unique texture they provide, as well as their resistance to fire and damage.
Metallic fibers have created a unique texture that is different from other types of fabrics, and they can also be used independently or in combination with other types of materials.
Although metallic fibers are durable and luxurious, their high cost is likely to be their biggest disadvantage. Due to this, textile manufacturers and designers should consider using metallic Fibers in only limited areas of fabrics rather than as an entire cloth.
Metallic fibers have been around for a very long time and it is still used in the textile industry today, as well as in other industries such as medical and electronics. It has a wide range of applications, thus making it an important material to know about.
We hope you enjoyed this article and gained information about the history, advantages and disadvantages of metallic fibers.