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Art silk

Artificial silk, or (as the term is used in the textile industry) Art silk, is a synthetic manufactured fiber which is supposed to resemble silk. Imitation silk may be made with rayon[1], mercerized cotton[2], polyester[3], a blend of materials, or it may be a blend of rayon and silk. The cost of art silk is therefore much cheaper than real silk, even if its appearance is similar.

The original name for rayon was simply "artificial silk," although "viscose rayon" is a more modern term for the same fabric or fiber. Art silk is normally just a synonym for rayon.

Rayon and silk have unique features that are distinguishable. 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.

Nylon was the first synthetic fiber, developed in the United States and used as a replacement for Japanese silk (though predating that conflict) 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. Whereas rayon is similar in appearance to silk, nylon became a functional alternative to silk. Du Pont's original plans for nylon to become a cheaper and superior replacement for silk stockings[4] were soon realized[5], then redirected for military use[6][7] 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.


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  4. ^ See 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."
  5. ^ "Nylon Sellout," Newsweek, May 27, 1940, pp. 65-66.
  6. ^ "Stocking Panic," Business Week, August 9, 1941.
  7. ^ "Hosiery Woes," Business Week, February 7, 1942.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Art_silk". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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