Fiber spinning processes cartoonsCreation: circa 1970
The DuPont Company is a chemical company which commercially produces synthetic fibers such as Kevlar. This collection consists of three pieces of artwork which were created for the DuPont Company Textile Fibers Department and hung in a shared work area. The artwork are photostats and are signed “ELF”. The three pictures show various small, cheerful animals making synthetic fiber by three different methods that are actually used (in slightly more sophisticated form) industrially.
- Creation: circa 1970
- Unknown (Organization)
- E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company. Textile Fibers Department (Former owner, Organization)
General Physical Description
3 photostats : b&w ; 13.5 x 14.5 in.
The DuPont Company is a chemical company which commercially produces synthetic fibers such as Kevlar. In the 1970s three pieces of artwork were created for the DuPont Company Textile Fibers Department and hung in a shared work area. The artwork are photostats and are signed “ELF”. A photostat (or stat) is a photographic print which creates an image using photography and electrostatic processes. Generally it is produced with the use of a Photostat ™ machine or a similar device.
Scope and Content
The following description was provided by former DuPont Chemist David Higley:
The three pictures show various small, cheerful animals making synthetic fiber by three different methods that are actually used (in slightly more sophisticated form) industrially. It seems likely that the drawings were done around the time these techniques were being developed by DuPont. The methods illustrated are the following:
Wet Spinning The cartoon shows a substance being injected in a fine stream into a liquid bath. This is the way Kevlar® aramid fiber is made. The aramid polymer cannot be melted without decomposition, so simple melt spinning is not an option. Neither is it soluble in any common solvent, but it does dissolve in concentrated sulfuric acid. Therefore, a solution of the polymer in sulfuric acid is injected into a water bath, where the acid is diluted and solid fibers are formed. This is an expensive process, contributing to the rather high cost of Kevlar®.
Solution Dry Spinning Here a liquid is being poured into a cup-shaped spinneret and air is being blown on the emerging fibers, which solidify and are wound up on a spool. Lycra® spandex is made in this manner. Like aramid polymers, the spandex polymer cannot be heated to melting without decomposition, so must be spun from solution. In this case the solvent dimethylacetamide (DMAc) can be used to dissolve the polymer, and is sufficiently volatile that it can be removed from the nascent fiber by a current of warm air between the spinneret and wind-up.
Hot Drawing The critters playing tug-of-war over a Hibachi are illustrating hot drawing of a fiber. This technique elongates and thins the fiber, at the same time causing some alignment of the polymer molecules to increase strength. Kevlar® polyaramid and Dacron® polyester are two examples of fibers that are treated in this manner after spinning.
This collection is open for research.
Language of Materials
Finding Aid & Administrative Information
- Fiber spinning processes cartoons
- Laurie Rizzo in 2014.
- Description rules:
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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- Script of description: