Synthetic fibres, also known as synthetic fibers (in British English; see spelling variations) are fibres produced by humans using chemical synthesis, in contrast to natural fibers that are directly taken from living creatures, like the plants (like cotton) or fur from animals. They result from extensive research by scientists to duplicate naturally occurring plant and animal fibers. Synthetic fibers are made by extruding fiber-forming substances through spinnerets, creating an elongated fiber. These are known as synthetic or synthetic fibers like Aluminium extrusion. The word polymer comes from a Greek suffix “poly” meaning “many” and the suffix “mer” that signifies “single pieces”. (Note that every single unit of a polymer is called”a monomer”).
The first fiber that was fully synthetic was glass. Joseph Swan invented one of the first synthetic fibers around 1880; today it would be classified as semisynthetic for precise use. The fiber was derived from a cellulose liquid created by chemically altering the tree bark’s fiber. The fiber created through this process was chemically identical as the carbon filament Swan designed for his incandescent light bulb, but Swan was quick to realize the potential of the fiber to revolutionize the manufacturing of textiles. In 1885, he unveiled fabrics made from synthesized material during the International Inventions Exhibition in London.
Another step made by Hilaire de Chardonnet, a French engineer and industrialist, who invented the first artificial silk, which he referred to as “Chardonnet silk”. In the 1870s, Chardonnet was working with Louis Pasteur on a remedy to the epidemic which was killing French silkworms. The failure to remove an accident in the darkroom led to Chardonnet’s discovery the nitrocellulose that could be a replacement for silk. Realizing the value of such the discovery, Chardonnet began to develop his product that he displayed in the Paris Exhibition of 1889. Chardonnet’s material was extremely flame-proof, and was later replaced with other, more durable materials.