Alginic fiber

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A fine silk-like thread produced by forcing sodium alginate through spinnerets into a solution of a metallic salt, usually beryllium or calcium acetate. This changes the water-soluble alginate into a water-insoluble material. However, because the fibers will still dissolve in aqueous solutions that contain soaps or an alkali, alginic fibers must be dry-cleaned. They are commonly used as a spacing threads to produce fancy weave fabrics. The alginic fibers are woven into a fabric with other types of thread, such as fine wool, then washed out, leaving a loosely woven pattern. Alginic threads are also used to produce silk substitutes, fireproof fabrics, and surgical dressings that can dissolve into the blood stream.

Synonyms and Related Terms

alginic fibre; algin fiber; alginate fiber; fibra algínica (Esp.)


Nonflammable, but will decompose in flame with ash residue.

Physical and Chemical Properties

Soluble in weak alkalis like soap. Unaffected by organic solvents.

Fibers are striated; cross sections have serrated edges with occasional flat spots. Tenacity = 1.6-2.0 g/denier (dry); 0.5 g/denier (wet ); Density = 1.779 gm/cc

Resources and Citations

  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 21
  • Hoechst Celanese Corporation, Dictionary of Fiber & Textile Technology (older version called Man-made Fiber and Textile Dictionary, 1965), Hoechst Celanese Corporation, Charlotte NC, 1990
  • Marjory L. Joseph, Introductory Textile Science, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Fort Worth, TX, 1986
  • Identification of Textile Materials, The Textile Institute, Manchester, England, 1985
  • J.Gordon Cook,Handbook of Textile Fibres:II. Man-made Fibres, 5th edition, Merrow Publishing Co., Durham, England, 1984.