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Chapter 3 – Synthetic Fibres and Plastics

The following Topics and Sub-Topics are covered in this chapter and are available on MSVgo:


Do you know the clothes you wear are made up of fibres extracted from artificial or natural sources? Well, fibres get widely used for fabricating various household articles. Here we will examine and explore in detail about synthetic fibres and plastics.

Synthetic fibres, also known as man-made fibre, are prepared from raw material petroleum called petrochemicals. Well, can you recall the image of a beaded necklace? You will discern an unvaried pattern of beads spliced with the help of thread. 

Similarly, synthetic fibres are small units of chemicals clubbed together to formulate a larger chain. Each unit merges to form a polymer. The word ‘polymer’ has been derived from the Greek word ‘poly’ that means many, and ‘mer’ means units. 

Types of Synthetic Fibres

There are three types of synthetic fibres- 

  • Rayon– Silk was first discovered in China, but it was kept a secret for a long time. Silk was exorbitant and exquisite. So many efforts were curated to design the same quality of fibre. Finally, in the 19th century, fibre was obtained with the help of wood pulp through chemical experiments. It was rayon, also referred to as artificial fibre. 
  • Nylon– Nylon is one of the man-made fibre made up of air, coal, and water. The socks you wear, the rope you wield, and the toothbrush bristles are made using nylon. 
  • Polyester You must have observed your mother purchasing PET jars to store sugar and tea. Yes, It is contrived of polyester. Polyester gets fabricated with the help of coal, water, and petroleum. The fibre quality is high and can get cleaned easily. Terylene and PET are classic examples of it. 

Characteristics of Synthetic Fibres

The following is the rundown of the pivotal characteristics of synthetic fibres – 

  • Highly durable – Synthetic fibre is more durable, cheaper, and staunch than any other fibre. Man-made fibres get produced in bulk that makes it much affordable than a natural fibre and get manufactured quickly and easily. For example – a natural figure like cotton needs to be sown and grown before cotton can be harvested.
  • Customisation– Synthetic fibres can get engineered as per need and requirement. Chemical and physical manipulation of polymers is easily possible.

The chair, table, and bucket everything is made up of plastic. Plastics are polymers that can be reused, shaded, or moulded into wires and different shapes. Some units of plastics have linear arrangements, while some have cross-linked arrangement. Two forms of plastics are – thermoplastics and thermosetting plastics.

Plastics as Materials of Choice 

Today as a matter of choice, when you want to store any food, plastic containers seem more reliable. Lightweight, low price and long-lasting nature best define a plastic. Due to the following qualities, we consider plastics as materials of choice – 

  1. Plastic is non-reactive
  2. Plastic is light-weight, staunch, and durable.
  3. Plastics are bad conductors of electricity.

Plastics and the Environment 

One of the principal downsides of plastic is that it isn’t environment friendly and takes 1,000 years to disintegrate. In any event, during its consuming cycle, it produces a large amount of noxious and destructive gases into the air. So what’s the possible solution to the issue?

The ideal path is to try not to utilise plastic or to use biodegradable or thermoplastics as it can easily be reused and is eco-friendly. Moreover, as an informed citizen, follow 5 R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Refuse, Recycle, and Recover.

1. What is the difference between synthetic fibres and plastic?

The difference between fibres and plastics is as follows- 

Synthetic FibresPlastic
Synthetic Fibres are composed of compounds that consist of polyester strands like nylon.Plastics are made up of synthetic fibres that get melted and processed.
Synthetic fibres are swiftly oriented.Most of the plastics are difficult to get oriented.


2. What is an example of a synthetic fibre?

Examples of synthetic fibres are polyester, acrylic, nylon, rayon, acetate, spandex, latex, and Kevlar. 

3. What are the three types of synthetic fibres?

The three types of synthetic fibres include – 

  • Rayon- It is the fibre that is obtained from the pulp of wood. Rayon is usually soft, cosy, and sturdy. It is used for making bedsheets and carpets, etc. 
  • Nylon- The fibre that is made from coal, water, and air, is called nylon. It gets widely used for making seat belts, sleeping bags, socks, and ropes, etc. Nylon is soft, elastic, and washable. 
  • Polyester- It gets obtained from petroleum, coal, water, and air. Polyesters consist of units of chemicals called esters. It gets mostly used for making dresses, raincoats, and ropes. It is durable and tear-resistant. 

4. What are synthetic Fibres Class 8?

Synthetic fibres are man-made fibres that are little units of chemically combined together to figure a bigger chain. Example- rayon, nylon, and acrylic.

5. Which is the strongest synthetic fibre?

Polyethene fibre is the strongest synthetic fibre. It has an excellent weight and strength ratio and high rigidity. Examples can be nylon, kevlar, spectra, and Dyneema. 

6. How are synthetic fibres useful?

They get used for a plethora of purposes: for amassing ropes, articles of clothing, floor coverings, and other home use items. Because of their water resistant characteristics they are furthermore used for waterproofing.

Synthetic fibres and plastics have a plethora of uses; they are more elastic than natural fibres. For better understanding, you can view videos on MSVgo. MSVgo is an application whose fundamental goal is to assist you to comprehend the standards and ideas with the help of illustrative visuals or animations. You can also get topic notes to enhance your comprehension of the subject matter.

High School Physics

  • Alternating Current
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  • Algebra – Arithmatic Progressions
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Middle School Science

  • Acids, Bases And Salts
  • Air and Its Constituents
  • Basic Biology
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  • Carbon and Its Compounds
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  • Synthetic Fibers And Plastics
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  • Water: A Precious Resource
  • Weather, Climate And Adaptations Of Animals To Climate
  • Winds, Storms And Cyclones

Middle School Math

  • Addition
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  • Fun With Numbers
  • Heavy and Light
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