What a textile is made of can make a huge difference when it comes to performance, durability, cleanability and where it should be used. Using a textile with the wrong content can result in poor performance in the field. In this post we'll talk about Olefin. What it is and its benefits and disadvantages.
Created in the 1950's, Olefin (Polypropylene and Polyethylene are types) is a man made fiber that is created from plastic pellets that are melted, and then forced through a spinneret, which resembles a showerhead, creating the fiber, which is then spun into yarn and woven into fabric. Because the fiber is resistant to dyeing, color is added during the melting process, which means the color is throughout the fiber, not just on the surface, resulting in a bleach cleanable fabric, similar to Solution-Dyed Nylon.
Due to its high durability and water resistance, it is used in a wide variety of products, including Tyvek, clothing, car and furniture upholstery, ropes, carpeting and even diapers.
Pros and Cons of Olefin:
- Resists mildew and chemicals
- Abrasion, fire, and chemical resistant
- Water-based stains can be easily cleaned
- Has an affinity for oil-based stains, which can be very difficult to clean
- Bleach cleanable
- Great lightfastness (resistance to fading)
- Can become brittle when exposed to too much sunlight if UV inhibitors aren't used
- Not a good choice for applications that need a fire retardant (FR) treatment
- Will not absorb water
- Color is solution-dyed
- Creases when folded
- Can be used as upholstery, cubicle or vertical surface
Whether it's upholstery for a church pew, auditorium seating, theater seating, acoustic panels, or many other applications, fabric made of Olefin may be the best choice for your next project.
If you are interested in a handy reference sheet detailing the characteristics of Polyester, Olefin, Solution-Dyed Nylon (SDN) and Nylon, click below: