Metallic fiber

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Metal embroidered shoes
MFA# 92.2792


Metallic thread embroidery
MFA# 1996.26

A manufactured fiber in which the fiber-forming substance is any Metal, Plastic coated metal, metal coated plastic or a core completely covered by metal (Federal Trade Commission definition). Metallic fibers from ductile metals, such as Gold, Silver, and Copper, were used in ancient Persia, India and Egypt for weaving and embroidery. Today, metal filaments of gold, silver, Stainless steel and Aluminum are used for textile decoration. Some commercial types of metallic fibers, called multi-component, have a central metal (often colored aluminum) filament laminated in Cellulose acetate butyrate or polyester. Polymer coatings minimize breakage and chemical deterioration, but usually can not withstand high temperature drying or ironing. In general, metallic fibers have are dense, e.g., 7.9 specific gravity for stainless steel compared to 0.9 for polypropylene. Additionally, they can withstand high temperatures and are resistant to most chemicals, abrasion, and soiling. Metal fibers dissipate static electricity and heat. Some fibers are magnetic or reflect microwave radiation. Metallic fibers are used in combination with other fibers in clothing, household furnishings and carpets for decoration and static electricity control. Woven Metal fabric is also used as Screening.

Synonyms and Related Terms

metallic thread; metal fiber; wire thread; metallic fibre; hilo metálico (Esp.); metaaldraad (Ned);

Physical and Chemical Properties

Stainless steel:

  • Tenacity = 1.8 - 3.2 g/denier
  • Elongation = 11% (annealed)
  • Specific gravity = 7.88
  • Melting pt = 1426C.

Acetate butyrate coated foil:

  • Tenacity = 0.3 g/denier
  • Elongation = 30%
  • Moisture regain 0.1 %
  • Softening pt = 205C.

Polyester coated foil:

  • Tenacity = 0.79 g/denier
  • Elongation = 140%
  • Moisture regain 0.5 %
  • Softening pt = 232C

Additional Images

Resources and Citations

  • M. Joseph, Introductory Textile Science, Holt Reinhold & Winston, Fort Worth, 1986.
  • Hoechst Celanese Corporation, Dictionary of Fiber & Textile Technology (older version called Man-made Fiber and Textile Dictionary, 1965), Hoechst Celanese Corporation, Charlotte NC, 1990
  • Rosalie Rosso King, Textile Identification, Conservation, and Preservation, Noyes Publications, Park Ridge, NJ, 1985
  • J.Gordon Cook, Handbook of Textile Fibres:II Man-made Fibres, Merrow Publishing Co. , Durham, England
  • Theodore J. Reinhart, 'Glossary of Terms', Engineered Plastics, ASM International, 1988