Monday, September 14, 2009


MICROFIBER is NOT a single fiber type like polyester, rayon, nylon or acetate (all of which can be manufactured as microfibers), and not all microfibers are good candidates for upholstery. The term "microfiber" refers to how fibers are made and are recognized as those of less than 1.0 denier.

A denier rating is defined by mass or weight, not diameter, and is the numerical equivalent, in grams, of 9 kilometers (5.5 miles) of a continuous filament of a given fiber. Most microfibers range between 0.5 and 0.8 denier. Silk is approximately 1.25 denier and a human hair may be as much as 100 times thicker than a microfiber filament. Any synthetic fiber can be made into a microfiber though polyester and nylon are the most common and many modern microfibers may be a blend of different fibers.

Microfibers exhibit the characteristics inherent to the fiber (eg. polyester, nylon, rayon, olefin) with the unique additional characteristics that make microfiber so popular. The thinness of microfibers allows more fibers to be twisted together to create threads which in turn can be woven very closely together. This capability is what allows microfiber to exhibit water and/or stain resistance because the moisture cannot penetrate the fabric's density. The increase in density adds to the abrasion resistance while the fiber thinness accounts for the pleasant hand (feel) of the fabric.

Suede fabrics account for most of the upholstery microfiber fabric and are generally what consumers think of when they think of microfiber. Most of these are finished to resemble suede leather by a process known as sanding where the fabric passes over a series of rollers covered with an abrasive material developing a low pile on the surface. Ultrasuede, a more expensive suede microfiber, is developed through a complex process of ironing, curling, cutting and needle-punching into a soft felt-like fabric which is then impregnated with a special adhesive binder.

When shopping for upholstery microfiber, look for fabrics that are nylon or polyester or a combination thereof. Rayon microfibers may have a tendency to stretch and acrylic may pill.

No comments:

Post a Comment