R. N. Kanungo


Since the advent of the three major synthetic fibres i.e. Nylon in 1938 followed by Polyester and Acrylics in the 1950s, man-made synthetic fibres have been consistently developed and grown in volume as well as in global consumption[1]. In recent years, these synthetic fibres have almost overtaken the share of natural fibres even in the fields of apparel and home furnishings.

Amongst the synthetic fibres, however, presently Polyester occupies the leading position and dominates the global fibre scene by having 66% of the total synthetic fibre output (almost two-thirds) leaving the remaining one third output to traditional synthetics, elastane and other high-tech. and high-performance fibres etc. (Table-1).


In the last decade Polypropylene (PP) fibres (including PP tapes) have developed into the world wide second most important fibre next to Polyester.

However, excluding tapes or split films, total world production of PP in 2003 had already touched 4.1 million tons (around 12.2%) of the total synthetic fibre output, out of which 2.8 million tons (68.3%) were filament yarns including 1.1 million tons of spun bonds and 1.3 million tons (31.7%) of the staple fibers (fig.1) [2].

In recent years PP staple fibres and filaments including spun bond non-woven for textile applications also have made considerable progress and went through a period of explosive growth in 70s and 80s. At present it shares around 6.5% of the global market activity and is showing signs of developing a wider potential market base [2], [3].


1. In the last decade Polypropylene (PP) fibres have developed into the world wide second most important fibre next to Polyester.

2. The demand for PP fibres will continue to grow in view of the growth in world population, technical progress in the growth of synthetic vis a vis natural fibres and innovative applications of PP fibres towards new product development, in apparel, home furnishing and other textile marketing segments.

3. Today, Polypropylene fibre usage (excluding Tapes and monofilaments) shares around 6.5% of the Global market activity and are showing signs of developing a wider potential market base.

4. New challenges are emerging for PP in Asia Pacific countries due to cheap polymer cost advantage of PP over Polyester by about 5% or more and the main focus of PP fibre growth will remain Apparel, which is not the traditional heartland of PP business today.

5. In order that PP would have a wider role in Apparel sector, particularly in Denims, the fabric attributes that can bring textile differentiation in new product development had been closely examined through three cotton warp/PP weft denims experimental fabrics, against a controlled 100% cotton denim fabric of about similar weight and fabric cover, and the tested fabric attributes of these Cotton/ PP weft fabrics for Performance Durability Comfort and Aesthetic aspects have been found to be quite encouraging and superior as compared to that of the controlled 100% cotton weft fabric.

6. Subjective evaluation of certain aesthetic properties of fabrics by eight observers showed that all of them rated the sample No.2 (Cotton/PP samples 36 p.p.i., with least weight) as Best among the four followed by the very close rating of the sample No.1 (100% cotton sample 46 p.p.i.)

7. The combined analysis of the fabric test results for performance, durability and comfort properties with the subjective evaluation of certain fabric aesthetic attributes and the subsequent economics of fabric costing seemed to establish that the fabric of Cotton warp with the lowest possible specific weight of PP weft (sample No.2 C/PP 36 p.p.i.) emerges to be the best fabric in terms of balancing of such properties in an apparel denim against a 100% Cotton fabric of similar weight and fabric cover range.


1. Technologies for a new Century Kajiwara Nori and Okamoto, J.T.I., Vol.2000, Part III, Pg.32 78.
2. Hans J. Koslowski Man Made Fiber Year Book pg. 4
3. Olefin opportunities Textile Month July 2003 - pg. 22 25.
4. Claus P. Schobesberger - Textile Month June 2003 pg. 31 33
5. Vengsarker S.R. & Gupta Vikas Innovation Proceedings, 2nd International Conference of NISTI pg. 42 55
6. Patel Seema Disertation M.Text. Eng., M.S. University, Baroda 2000
7. Jadeja V.S. & Shah Ashish, Testing Systems of Kawabata Evaluation Systems, ATIRA.
8. Peirce F.T. J.T.I. 1937.

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