A manufactured fiber. It is formed by a compound of cellulose, refined from cotton linters and/or wood pulp, along with acetic acid. It is extruded through a spinneret and then hardened.
Acetate can also refer to cellulose acetate. Cellulose acetate or acetate rayon fiber (1924) is one of the earliest synthetic fibers and is based on cotton or tree pulp cellulose (“biopolymers”).
Acetate was invented by two Swiss brothers, Doctors Camille and Henri Dreyfus, who originally began chemical research in a shed behind their father’s house. In 1905, Camille and Henri developed a commercial process to manufacture cellulose acetate. They initially focused on cellulose acetate film, widely used in the motion picture industry. By 1913, Camille and Henri’s studies and experiments had produced excellent laboratory samples of continuous filament acetate yarn. In 1924, the first commercial acetate filament was spun in the United States.
Acetate fiber characteristics as related to clothing:
- Luxurious feel and appearance
- Wide range of colors and lusters
- Excellent drapability and softness
- Relatively fast drying
- Shrink, mold and mildew resistant
- Hydrophilic: acetate wets easily, with good liquid transport and excellent absorption; in textile applications, it provides comfort and absorbency, but also loses strength when wet
Made from a renewable resource (reforested trees), completely recyclable
- Can be dyed, however special dyes and pigments are required since acetate does not accept dyes ordinarily used for cotton and rayon
- Easily weakened by strong alkaline solutions and strong oxidizing agents
- Can usually be wet cleaned or dry cleaned and generally does not shrink
Major acetate fiber uses:
- Apparel: blouses, dresses, linings, wedding and party attire, home furnishings, draperies, upholstery and slip covers
- High absorbency products: diapers, feminine hygiene products, cigarette filters, surgical products, and other filters
- Cellulose Acetate can be converted to a wide range of products from tough, clear, impact-resistant plastics to soft, drapeable, absorbent fabrics. As a textile fiber, cellulose acetate processes well in both weaving and knitting operations, is readily dyed, and results in breathable fabrics with excellent aesthetics and comfort.