Complete Textile Glossery (O to P)
Learn Apparel Merchandising, Learn Fashion design.
OATMEAL: A heavy, soft linen fabric with a pebbled or crepe effect.
OFF-CLIP: See SCALLOPED SELVAGE.
OFF-SQUARE: 1. A term to describe the difference between the percentage of warp crimp and
the percentage of filling crimp. 2. A term referring to a fabric in which the number of ends and
the number of picks per inch are not equal.
OILCLOTH: Any fabric treated with linseed-oil varnish to make it waterproof. It comes in
plain colors and printed designs and is most commonly used for table covers or shelf covering. It
has now been widely replaced by plastic coated fabrics.
OILPROOF: A term describing fabrics that are impervious to oil.
OIL-REPELLENT: A term applied to fabrics that have been treated with finishes to make them
OLEFIN FIBER: A manufactured fiber in which the fiber-forming substance is any long chain
synthetic polymer composed of at least 85% by weight of ethylene, propylene, or other olefin
units. Olefin fibers combine lightweight with high strength and abrasion resistance, and are
currently being used in rope, indoor-outdoor carpets, and lawn furniture upholstery. (Also see
POLYETHYLENE FIBER and POLYPROPYLENE FIBER.)
OLEOPHILIC: A term describing a substance that has a strong affinity for oils.
OLEOPHOBIC: A term describing a substance that does not have a strong affinity for oils.
OLIGOMER: A polymer molecule consisting of only a few monomer units.
OMBRÉ: A color effect in which the shade is changeable from light to dark, generally produced
by using warp yarns of different tones. Ombré effects may also be produced by printing.
ONDULE: A general term for plain-weave fabrics of silk, cotton, or manufactured fiber having a
wavy effect produced by weaving the warp or filling, but usually the filling, in a wavy line. An
ondule reed is generally used to produce this effect, often in a leno weave to emphasize the wave.
Ondule is used for dress fabrics.
ON-STREAM: The state of having been brought into production. The term is usually used for
chemical and metallurgical plants or processes.
OPEN-END SPINNING: A system of spinning based on the
concept of introducing twist into the yarn without package rotation
by simply rotating the yarn end at a gap or break in the flow of the
fibers between the delivery system and the yarn package. Because
the twisting element can be compact and the mass of material to be
rotated is small, very high twisting speeds can be attained. The
process, in a sense combines the traditional processes of roving and spinning in one operation.
Present work is directed toward incorporating the drafting operation into the process by using
card sliver as the feedstock. This can facilitate process linking.
OPEN FACE: A fabric defect consisting of an open appearance of the fabric which permits the
filling to “grin” through the warp ends in the center portion of the fabric.
OPENING: 1. A preliminary operation in the processing of staple fiber. Opening separates the
compressed masses of staple into loose tufts and removes the heavier impurities. 2. An operation
in the processing of tow that substantially increases the bulk of the tow by separating the
filaments and deregistering the crimp.
OPTICAL BRIGHTENER: 1. A colorless compound that, when applied to fabric, absorbs the
ultraviolet radiation in light but emits radiation in the visible spectrum. 2. Fluorescent materials
added to polymer in manufactured fiber production that emit light in the visible spectrum, usually
OPTICAL PROPERTIES: A general term used to refer to the relations of yarn or fibers with
light. It includes such parameters as birefringence, refractive index, reflectance, optical density,
OPTIMUM TWIST: In spun yarns, a term to describe the amount of twist that gives the
maximum breaking strength or the maximum bulk at strength levels acceptable for weaving or
ORGANDY: A very thin, transparent, stiff, wiry, muslin fabric used for dresses, neckwear,
trimmings, and curtains. Swiss organdy is chemically treated and keeps its crisp, transparent
finish through many launderings. Organdy without chemical treatment loses its crispness in
laundering and has to be restarched. Organdy crushes or musses but is easily pressed. Shadow
organdy has a faint printed design in self-color.
ORGANZA: A stiff, thin, plain weave fabric made of silk, nylon, acrylic, or polyester, organza is
used primarily in evening and wedding attire for women.
ORGANIZE YARN: Two or more threads twisted in the singles and then plied in the reverse
direction. The number of turns per inch in the singles and in the ply is usually in the range of 10
to 20 turns. Organzine yarn is generally used in the warp.
ORIENTATION: In linear polymeric structures, the degree of parallelism of the chain
ORIFICE: Generally, an opening. Used specifically to refer to the small holes in spinnerets
through which the polymer flows in the manufacture of fibers.
ORTHO: A chemical prefix, usually abbreviated o, signifying that two substituents appear in
adjacent positions on a benzene ring.
OSNABURG: A coarse cotton or polyester/cotton fabric, often partly of waste fiber, in a plain
weave, medium to heavy in weight, that looks like crash. Unbleached osnaburg is used for grain
and cement sacks, and higher grades are used as apparel and household fabrics.
OTTOMAN: Heavy, large, filling rib yarns, often of cotton, wool, or waste
yarn, covered in their entirety by silk or manufactured fiber warp yarns,
characterized this fabric used for women’s wear and coats.
OUTFLOW QUENCH: Air for cooling extruded polymer that is directed
radially outward from a central dispersion device around which the filaments
OVEN-DRY WEIGHT: The constant weight of a specimen obtained by
drying in an oven under prescribed conditions of temperature and humidity.
OVERCUT: A staple fiber that is longer than nominal length. Usually, the
length is a multiple of 2, 3, or more times the nominal length. An overcut is
caused by the failure of filaments to be cut to the desired length during staple
OVERSPRAYING: A term sometimes used to describe the application, by spraying, of a fiber
lubricant to staple fibers during opening and blending.
OVER-THE-COUNTER: A term that usually refers to direct sales to a retail customer in a
store, as opposed to wholesale marketing.
OXFORD CLOTH: A soft but stout shirting fabric in a modified basket
weave with a large filling yarn having no twist woven under and over two
single, twisted warp yarns. The fabric is usually made from cotton or
polyester/cotton blends and is frequently given a silk like luster finish.
OZONE FADING: The fading of a dyed textile material, especially those
in blue shades, caused by atmospheric ozone, (O3).
PACK: 1. The complete assembly of filters and spinneret
through which polymer flows during extrusion. 2. A unit of
weight for wool, 240 pounds.
PACKAGE BUILD: A general term that applies to the
shape, angles, tension, etc., of a yarn package during winding.
Package build affects performance during subsequent
PACKAGE DYEING: See DYEING, Yarn Dyeing.
PACKAGES: A large selection of forms for winding yarn is available to meet the requirements
of existing machinery and a variety of package builds is used to ensure suitable unwinding in later
stages of manufacturing. Since a package with flanges cannot be unwound easily and quickly by
pulling the yarn off overend, most packages are flangeless with self-supporting edges. Some can
be unwound at speeds up to 1500 yd/min. The accompanying diagram shows six common types
PACK LIFE: The time during which a pack assembly can remain in use and produce goodquality
PADDING: The application of a liquor or paste to textiles either by passing the material through
a bath and subsequently through squeeze rollers, or by passing it between squeeze rollers, the
bottom one of which carries the liquor or paste.
PADDLE DYEING MACHINE: A machine used for dyeing garments, hosiery, and other small
pieces that are packaged loosely in mesh bags. The unit consists of an open tank and revolving
paddles that circulate the bags in the dyebath.
PAISLEY: A drop-shaped pattern that is extremely popular for
men’s ties and womenswear.
PANELS (HOSIERY): Knitted panels used for testing purposes.
PANNÉ SATIN: A satin fabric with an unusually high luster
because of the application of very heavy roll pressure in finishing.
Panné satin is made of silk or one of the manufactured fibers.
PANNÉ VELVET: Velvet of silk or a manufactured fiber, with a finish in which the pile is
flattened and laid in one direction. Panné velvet is a lustrous, lightweight fabric.
PAPERMAKER’S FELT: Formerly, a heavy, wide, coarse, worsted or woolen fabric that was
threaded between the rolls of the papermaking machine to form an endless conveyer belt for pulp
or wet paper in its passage through the machine. These products are now also made of various
oven and nonwoven, of manufactured fibers and monofilaments.
PARA: A chemical prefix, usually abbreviated p, indicating that two substituents on a benzene
ring are separated by two carbon atoms.
PARALLELING: The process of aligning fibers to produce a more uniform, smoother, stronger
PARTIALLY ORIENTED STAPLE: Staple fibers cut from tow that has been drawn less than
normal so that only partial longitudinal orientation of the polymer molecules exists.
PARTIALLY ORIENTED YARNS (POY): Filament yarns in which the draw ratio is less than
normal resulting in only partial longitudinal orientation of the polymer molecules.
PART RUN: A partially filled bobbin that occurs when an end breaks before the completion of a
doff cycle. The total weight of yarn normally wound during a cycle is not obtained on the bobbin
at the break position. The number of part runs is used as a measure of spinning performance.
PATTERN: 1. An arrangement of form; a design or decoration such as the design of woven or
printed fabrics. 2. A model, guide, or plan used in making things, such as a garment pattern.
PATTERN WHEEL: In a circular-knitting machine, a slotted device for controlling individual
needles so that patterns can be knit in the fabric.
PBI: See POLYBENZIMIDAZOLE FIBER.
PEAU DE SOIE: A heavyweight, soft satin of silk or manufactured fiber with a fine cross rib
and a dull luster. The term is French for “skin of silk.”
PEBBLE-WEAVE FABRIC: A fabric with an irregular or rough surface texture formed by
either a special weave or by the use of highly twisted yarns that shrink when they are wet.
PECE: Post-chlorinated vinyl chloride polymer. The post-chlorination process increases
chlorine content form 57% to 64%. The resulting polymer is soluble in acetone and can be wet
PEEL ADHESION: The force required to delaminate a structure or to separate the surface layer
from a substrate. Peel adhesion is the usual measure of the strength of the bond between fiber
reinforcements and rubber in tires and other mechanical rubber goods.
PEELER: In beaming, a defect caused by a portion of an end sticking or remaining on the beam,
causing the filament to strip back or peel until it is broken. Although they are often associated
with ringers, peelers are not necessarily defects that will circle the beams.
PEGGING: A finishing process for velveteen consisting of applying friction with blocks of
wood or soapstone to impart a gloss or sheen to the fabric.
PEGGING JETS: A technique for freeing a plugged hole in a spinneret by rubbing the face with
a piece of wood. Use of the technique has been discouraged because of damage to the spinneret.
PELERINE: A device for transferring stitches from the cylinder to the dial or vice versa on a
PERCALE: A closely woven, plain-weave, spun fabric used for dress goods and sheeting,
generally 80 x 80 threads per inch or better.
PERCHING: Inspection of cloth for defects while it is run over a roller.
PERMANENT DEFORMATION: The change in length of a sample after removal of an
applied tensile stress and after the removal of any internal strain (e.g., by boiling off the sample
and allowing it to dry without tension). The permanent deformation is expressed as a percentage
of the original sample length.
PERMANENT FINISH: A term for various finishing treatments, chemical and/or mechanical,
applied to fabric so that it will retain certain properties, such as glaze of chintz, crispness of
organdy, smoothness of cotton table damask, and crease, crush, and shrinkage resistance of many
apparel fabrics during the normal period of wear and laundering.
PERMANENT GROWTH: See SECONDARY CREEP.
PERMANENT PRESS: See DURABLE PRESS.
PERMANENT SET: See SECONDARY CREEP.
TY: The state or quality of being penetrable by fluids or gases.
PERMITTIVITY: See DIELECTRIC CONSTANT.
pH: Value indicating the acidity or alkalinity of a material. It is the negative logarithm of the
effective hydrogen ion concentration. A pH of 7.0 is neutral; less than 7.0 is acidic; and more
PHASES BEAM: A beam on which each of the ends is wound from the same depth of each of
the bobbins on the creel. Phased beams are prepared when yarn properties vary from the inside to
the outside of the bobbins in order to prevent warp streakiness in the finished fabric.
PHASE-SEPARATION SPINNING: See SPINNING, 2.
PHENOLIC: 1. A resin or plastic made by the condensation of a phenol with an aldehyde and
used particularly in coatings and adhesives. 2. Containing or pertaining to phenol.
PHENYL: A chemical radical, (C6H5-), derived from benzene. It is the basis of many aromatic
PHOSPHORESCENCE: Emission of light that persists for a noticeable time after the removal
of the excitation source.
PHOSPHORIC ACID: An inorganic acid having the formula (H3PO4).
PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINTING: See PRINTING.
PHTHALIC ACID: An organic acid obtained by oxidation of various benzene derivatives and
having two adjacent (ortho) acid (COOH) groups on the benzene ring.
PICK: A single filling thread carried by one trip of the weft-insertion device across the loom.
The picks interlace with the warp ends to form a woven fabric. (Also see FILLING.)
PICK COUNT: The number of filling yarns per inch or per centimeter of fabric.
PICK COUNTER: 1. A mechanical device that counts the picks as they are inserted during
weaving. 2. A mechanical device equipped with a magnifying glass used for counting picks
(and/or ends) in finished fabrics.
PICKER: 1. A machine that opens staple fiber and forms a lap for the carding process used in
the production of spun yarns. 2. That part of the picking mechanism of the loom that actually
PICKER LAP: A continuous, considerably compressed sheet of staple that is delivered by the
picker and wound into a cylindrical package. It is used to feed the card.
PICKER STICKS: The two sticks that throw the shuttles from box to box at each end of the
PICKING: 1. A process that continues the opening and cleaning of staple and forms a
continuous fiber sheet (or lap), which is delivered to the card. 2. The operation of passing the
filling through the warp shed during weaving.
PICK-OUT MARK: A fillingwise band or bar characterized by a chafed or fuzzy appearance
PICOT: 1. A small loop woven on the edge of ribbon, or a purl on lace. A picot edge may also
be produced by a hemstitching machine. 2. A run-resistant loop usually found at the top of
PIECE: A standard length of a fabric, such as 40, 60, 80, or 100 yards.
PIECE DYEING: See DYEING.
PIECING: The joining of two or more ends of sliver, roving, yarn, etc.
PIGMENT: An insoluble, finely divided substance, such as titanium dioxide, used to deluster or
color fibers, yarns, or fabrics.
PIGMENTED YARN: A dull or colored yarn spun from a solution or melt containing a
pigment. (Also see DYEING, Mass-Colored.)
PIGMENT PRINTING: See PRINTING.
PILE: 1. A fabric effect formed by introducing tufts, loops, or other erect yarns on all or part of
the fabric surface. Types are warp, filling, and knotted pile, or loops produced by weaving an
extra set of yarns over wires that are then drawn out of the fabric. Plain wires leave uncut loops;
wires with a razor-like blade produce a cut-pile surface. Pile fabric can also be made by
producing a double-cloth structure woven face to face, with an extra set of yarn interlacing with
each cloth alternately. The two fabrics are cut apart by a traversing knife, producing two fabrics
with a cut-pile face. Pile should not be confused with nap. Corduroys are another type of pile
fabric, where long filling floats on the surface are slit, causing the pile to stand erect. 2. In
carpets, pile refers to the face yarn, as opposed to backing or support yarn. Pile carpets are
produced by either tufting or weaving. (Also see CUT PILE and LOOP PILE.)
PILE CRUSH: The bending of upholstery or carpet pile that results from heavy use or the
PILE WEAVE: A weave in which an additional set of yarns, either warp or filling, floats on the
surface and is cut to form the pile. Turkish toweling is a pileweave
fabric with uncut loops on one or both sides.
PILE WIRE: A metal rod over which yarn is woven to generate a
PILL: A small accumulation of fibers on the surface of a fabric.
Pills, which can develop during wear, are held to the fabric by an
entanglement with surface fibers of the material, and are usually composed of the same fibers
from which the fabric is made.
PILLING: The tendency of fibers to work loose from a fabric surface and form balled or matted
particles of fiber that remain attached to the surface of the fabric.
PILOT: A woolen cloth generally made in navy blue
and used for seamen’s coats. It is usually a heavily
milled 2/2 twill with a raised, brushed finish.
PIN DRAFTING: Any system of drafting in which the
orientation of the fibers relative to one another in the
sliver is controlled by pins.
PINHEAD: A small pinhead-sized opening usually found about 10 to 12 inches from a selvage.
Pinheads usually run in a fairly straight line along the warp and are formed by the shuttle
pinching the filling, causing small kinks that show up as small holes in transmitted light.
PINHOLE: A very small hole in hosiery or fabric.
PINION BARRÉ: A fine, fillingwise fabric defect appearing as one or two pick bars in an even
repeat. It is caused by a faulty loom pinion.
PINNING: See PIN DRAFTING.
PINSONIC® THERMAL JOINING MACHINE: A rapid, efficient quilting machine that uses
ultrasonic energy rather than conventional stitching techniques to join layers of thermoplastic
materials. The ultrasonic vibrations generate localized heat by causing one piece of material to
vibrate against the other at extremely high speed, resulting in a series of welds that fuse the
PIQUÉ: 1. A medium weight to heavyweight fabric with raised cords in the warp direction. 2. A
double-knit fabric construction knit on multifeed circular machines.
PIRN: 1. A wood, paper, or plastic support, cylindrical or slightly tapered, with or without a
conical base, on which yarn is wound. 2. The double-tapered take-up yarn package from
drawtwisting of nylon, polyester, and other melt spun yarns.
PIRN BARRÉ: A fabric defect consisting of crosswise bars caused by unequal shrinkage of the
filling yarn from different points on the original yarn package.
PITCH: In pile floor covering, the average number of pile ends per
inch in the fillingwise direction.
PLAIN-KNIT FABRIC: See FLAT-KNIT FABRIC.
PLAIN WEAVE: One of the three fundamental weaves: pla
and twill. Each filling yarn passes successively over and under each
warp yarn, alternating each row.
PLASTIC: A high polymer, usually combined with other ingredients such as curatives,
plasticizers, and fillers. It can be molded under heat and pressure and then machined accurately in
its hardened state. General term for a wide range of substances.
PLASTICIZER: 1. A chemical added to polymers and resins to impart flexibility, workability,
or stretchability. 2. A bonding agent that acts by solvent action on fibers.
PLATED: 1. A term to describe a fabric that is produced from two yarns of different colors,
characters, or qualities, one of which appears on the face and the other on the back. 2. A term to
describe a yarn covered by another yarn.
PLEAT: Three layers of fabric involving two folds or reversals of direction; the back fold may
PLIED YARN: A yarn formed by twisting together two or more singles yarns in one operation.
PLIED YARN DUCK: See DUCK.
PLISSÉ: A cotton, rayon, or acetate fabric with a crinkled or pleated effect. The effect is
produced by treating the fabric, in a striped or spotted motif, with a caustic-soda solution which
shrinks parts of the goods.
PLUCKING: A condition found at the feed roll and lickerin section of the card when larger than
normal clusters of fiber are pulled from the lap by the lickerin. This situation is normally caused
by uneven laps or the inability of the feed rolls to hold the lap sheet while small clusters of fibers
are being pulled from the lap by the lickerin. Plucking inevitably produces flaky webs.
PLUGGING VALUE: In the manufacture of acetate fibers, a measure of filterability. It is the
weight of solids in an acetate dope that can be passed through a fixed area of filter before the
filter becomes plugged. It is expressed as weight of solids per square unit of filter area, e.g.,
PLUSH: A term describing a cut-pile carpet in which the pile yarns are only slightly twisted,
dense, and very evenly sheared. A plush carpet has the look of a solid, flat velvet surface.
Similar pile constructions are also used in upholstery fabric.
PLY: 1. The number of singles yarns twisted together to form a plied yarn, or the number of plied
yarns twisted together to form cord. 2. An individual yarn in a plied yarn or cord. 3. One of a
number of layers of fabric (ASTM). 4. The number of layers of fabric, as in a shirt collar, or of
PLYFIL®: A proprietary system of making two-fold long-and-short staple yarns by using ultrahigh
drafting. The slightly twisted ends produced are not useable yarns but are well suited for
subsequent processing, i.e., twisting.
PLYING: Twisting together two or more singles yarns or ply yarns to form, respectively, ply
PLY TWISTING: See PLYING.
POINT BONDING: See BONDING, 2.
POLYAMIDE: A synthetic polymer and the fibers made from it in which the simple chemical
compounds used for its production are linked together by amide linkages (-NH-CO-). (Also see
POLYARYLATE: High-temperature-resistant aromatic polyesters from bisphenols.
POLYBENZIMIDAZOLE FIBER (PBI): A manufactured fiber in which the fiber-forming
substance is a long chain aromatic polymer having recurrent imidazole groups as an integral part
of the polymer chain. (FTC definition). The polymer is made from
tetraaminobiphenyl and diphenyl isophthalate and is dry spun from a
dope with dimethylacetamide as a solvent.
CHARACTERISTICS: A high-performance fiber with high chemical
resistance that does not burn in air. It has no melting point and does not
drip when exposed to flame. The fiber and fabrics from PBI retain their
flexibility, dimensional stability, and significant strength without
embrittlement even when exposed to flame or extreme heat. The fiber
emits little smoke in extreme conditions. It processes well on
conventional textile equipment, having processing characteristics
similar to polyester. It can be used in 100% form or blended with other
fibers. It has a high moisture regain and low modulus with comfort
properties similar to cotton. The natural color of PBI is a gold-khaki
shade, but it can be dyed to almost any medium to dark shade with
END USES: With excellent thermal, flame, and chemical resistance,
combined with good comfort properties, PBI is a good fiber for many
critical uses including: firefighter’s protective apparel, aluminized
proximity gear, industrial apparel such as pants, shirts and underwear,
protective gloves, welder’s apparel, aircraft fire-blocking layers, aircraft
wall fabrics, rocket motor insulation, race car driver’s apparel, and
braided packings among others.
POLYBLENDS: See BICONSTITUENT FIBER.
POLYCHLAL FIBER: A manufactured, bicomponent fiber of polyvinyl alcohol and polyvinyl
chloride. Some vinyl chloride is grafted to the polyvinyl alcohol (Japanese Chemical Fibers
Association definition). The fiber is emulsion spun into tow and staple.
CHARACTERISTICS: Polychlal fibers have a soft, lamb’s wool-like hand and moderate
moisture regain. The fibers are also characterized by high flame resistance and high abrasion
END USES: Polychlal fibers are suitable for end uses such as children’s sleepwear, blankets,
carpets, curtains, bedding, upholstery, nonwovens, and papermaking.
POLYESTER FIBER: A manufactured fiber in which the fiber-forming substance is any long
chain synthetic polymer composed of at least 85% by weight of an ester of dihydric alcohol and
terephthalic acid (FTC definition). The polymer is produced by the reaction of ethylene glycol
and terephthalic acid or its derivatives. Fiber forms produced are filament, staple, and tow. The
process of production resembles that of nylon. Polymerization is accomplished at a high
temperature, using a vacuum by one of two methods. (1) The glycol
and a terephthalate ester react to form a polymer chain, releasing
methanol; or (2) the glycol and terephthalic acid react directly to form
the polymer with water as the by-product. As with nylon, the filaments
are spun in a melt-spinning process, then stretched several times their
original length, which orients the long chain molecules and gives the
CHARACTERISTICS: Polyester fibers have high strength and are
resistant to shrinking and stretching. Fabrics are quick drying and tend
to have wrinkle resistance and crease retention, wet and dry. Polyester
is used alone and in blends. It has been one of the first fibers to be
developed in fabrics with durable-press features.
END USES: Polyester is widely used in many types of apparel fabrics
such as textured knits and wovens, durable-press blend fabrics,
shirtings, dress goods, rainwear, worsted-blend summer suitings,
sleepwear, underwear, bloused, and lingerie. It is also used extensively
in floor coverings and for tire cord and other industrial uses such as
sewing thread. Polyester fiberfill is used in filled items such as quilted
jackets, comforters, pillows, furniture cushions, and sleeping bags.
POLYETHERETHERKETONE FIBER (PEEK): A manufactured
fiber from polyetheretherketone polymer with high temperature and
chemical resistance used in composites as a matrix material and in other
POLYETHERIMIDE FIBER (PEI): A manufactured fiber spun from polyetherimide polymer
having high temperature resistance, excellent processibility, and toughness. Used for matrix
materials in composites and in other industrial applications.
POLYETHERSULFONE FIBER (PES): High molecular weight fibers from polymers
containing sulfone (-SO2-) groups and aromatic nuclei. They demonstrate high thermal stability
POLYETHYLENE FIBER: A manufactured fiber made of polyethylene, often in monofilament
form as well as continuous filament yarns and staple. Ethylene is polymerized at high pressures
and the resulting polymer is melt spun and cold drawn. It may also be dry-spun from xylene
CHARACTERISTICS: Polyethylene fibers have a low specific gravity, extremely low moisture
regain, the same tensile strength wet and dry, and are resistant to attack by mildew and insects.
These qualities have made polyethylene fiber suitable for industrial applications, geotextiles,
outdoor furniture, and similar applications. Polyethylene fiber does not dye, and in most cases, it
is colored by the addition of pigments and dyes to the material prior to spinning. It has a low
melting point, a property that has restricted its use in apparel.
POLYIMIDE FIBER: Fully imidized, manufactured fiber formed from the condensation
polymer of an aromatic dianhydride and an aromatic diisocyanate. The fiber is produced by dry
spinning. It is a high-shrinkage fiber used in the formation of mechanically stable nonwoven
fabrics. These fabrics are made without binders or resins; bonding apparently results from the
local temperature and pressure that develop during shrinkage.
POLYMER: A high molecular weight, chain-like structure from which manufactured fibers are
derived; produced by linking together molecular units called monomers.
POLYMERIZATION: A chemical reaction wherein small molecules combine to form much
larger molecules. (Also see ADDITION POLYMERIZATION and CONDENSATION
POLYMERIZE: To undergo polymerization. To react molecules resulting in their combining
and forming relatively long-chain, large molecules.
POLYNOSIC FIBER: A high-wet-modulus rayon staple having a microfibrillar structure of
fibers. The molecular ch
ain length of the cellulose forming the fiber is about twice as long as in
POLYOLEFIN FIBER: A fiber produced from a polymerized olefin, such as polypropylene or
POLYOXYAMIDE FIBER: Copolymeric fiber with good comfort properties, particularly high
moisture absorption and transfer, and intrinsic softness.
POLYPROPYLENE FIBER: A manufactured, olefin fiber made from polymers or copolymers
of propylene. Polypropylene fiber is produced by melt spinning the
molten polymer, followed by stretching to orient the fiber molecules.
CHARACTERISTICS: Polypropylene fibers have a number of
advantages over polyethylene fibers in the field of textile applications.
The degree of crystallinity, 72 to 75%, results in a fiber that is strong and
resilient, and does not fibrillate like high-density polyethylene.
Polypropylene has a high work of rupture, which indicates a tough fiber,
and may be made with tenacities as high as 8.0 to 8.5 grams per denier.
The melting point of polypropylene is 165°C, which is low by
comparison with nylon or polyester, but is high enough to make it
suitable for most textile applications. So light that it actually floats,
polypropylene fiber provides greater coverage per pound than any other
fiber. It is highly resistant to mechanical abuse and chemical attack.
END USES: Polypropylene fibers are widely used in industrial, carpet,
and geotextile applications. They have found important uses in fishing
gear, in ropes, and for filter cloths, laundry bags and dye bags. The
excellent chemical resistance of polypropylene fiber is of advantage in
the filtration and protective clothing fields. Fibrillated polypropylene
yarns are widely used in indoor-outdoor carpets. Staple fiber finds
application in blankets, pile fabrics, underwear, and industrial fabrics; it
is being developed for carpets, candlewicks, knitted outerwear, hand-knitting yarns, and
POLYTETRAFLUOROETHYLENE FIBER (PTFE): Fluorine-containing manufactured
fibers characterized by high chemical stability, relative inertness, and high melting point. Made
my emulsion spinning, a process that essentially results in fusion of fibrils by passing an
emulsion through a capillary, then drawing the resulting fiber. The fiber has a moderate tensile
strength and is particularly resistant to the effect of high temperatures and corrosive chemicals.
Having very low frictional coefficients, it has a slippery hand. Its principal uses are in packaging
POLYURETHANE FIBER: See SPANDEX FIBER.
POLYVINYL ALCOHOL: A colorless, water-soluble resin made by the hydrolysis of a
polyvinyl ester (usually the acetate). Polyvinyl alcohol is used in textile processing as a size,
frequently for nylon, and in fiber manufacture as a raw material for the production of polyvinyl
POLYVINYL ALCOHOL FIBER: A manufactured textile fiber developed in Japan. It is made
by dissolving polyvinyl alcohol in hot water and extruding this solution through a spinneret into a
sodium sulfate coagulating bath. In Japan, the fiber is used in apparel, household, and industrial
PONGEE: 1. A thin, naturally tan-colored silk fabric with a knotty, rough weave. 2. A cotton
fabric made from yarns spun from fine-combed staple and finished with a high luster. This fabric
is used for underwear. 3. Fabrics like cotton pongee made from manufactured fibers.
PONTE DI ROMA: A common double-knit fabric construction with a four-feed repeat produced
with the dial and cylinder needles in interlock gaiting. The fabric is plain and looks the same on
POPCORN: 1. A special-effect yarn containing short, thick spots. 2. In polymer manufacture a
term used to describe oversize, deformed chip.
POPLIN: A plain-weave fabric of various fibers characterized by a rib effect in the filling
POROSITY: The ratio of the volume of air or void
contained within the boundaries of a material to the total
volume (solid matter plus air or void) expressed as a
POTASH: A common name for potassium or potassium compounds. Generally used to mean
POT SPINNING: A method formerly used for making viscose rayon. The newly spun yarn was
delivered into the center of a rapidly rotating, centrifugal pot, where it received twist and
centrifugal force caused it to go to the wall of the pot. The yarn package so formed was called a
POWDER-BONDED NONWOVEN: A manufactured product in which a carded web is
produced and treated with a thermoplastic powder that has a melting point less than that of the
fiber in the web. The powder is heated to its melting point by through-air and infrared heating or
by hot-calendering to effect bonding.
POWER FACTOR: Of an insulating material, the ratio of the power in watts dissipated in a
capacitor in which the material is dielectric, to the product of the sinusoidal voltage and current
expressed in effective volt-amperes.
POY: See PARTIALLY ORIENTED YARNS.
PRECONDITIONING: Bringing a sample or specimen of textile material to a relatively low
moisture content (approximate equilibrium in an atmosphere between 5 and 25% relative
humidity) prior to conditioning in a controlled atmosphere of higher humidity for testing. (While
preconditioning is frequently translated as predrying, specimens should not be brought to the
PREFORM: 1. Fabrics that have been stacked in multiple layers and bonded with a stitching
yarn or by other means. The preform may be cut into a shape for subsequent molding into a
composite part. 2. A preshaped nonwoven made by distributing fibers over a screen in the
approximate contour of the finished part. 3. A preshaped, three-dimensional reinforcement made
via braiding, weaving, or knitting or some combination of these. 4. A formed but not fully
consolidated stack of prepreg layers which have the contour of the finished product. 5. The first
stage in the production of blow-molded products such as PET bottles.
PREOXIDIZED FIBER: In carbon fiber production, a fiber that results from a relatively lowtemperature
(200-500°C) heat treatment in the presence of oxygen which converts the precursor
fiber, PAN or rayon, to an infusible fiber that is stable to further processing.
PREPREG: Ready-to-mold, reinforcing material, either fiber, fabric, or mat, that is fully
impregnated with resin and in some cases, partially cured. Prepregs are then used by fabricators
in laying-up and molding composites after which curing is completed.
PRESSLEY INDEX: A measure of the strength of fiber bundles determined under prescribed
conditions and expressed in an arbitrary unit, pounds per milligram.
PRESSURE DROP: 1. A decrease in pressure that is caused by friction between a flowing liquid
and a constricting container. The pressure drop is increased by a reduction in diameter of the
container. 2. The change in pressure across a filter.
PRESSURE DYEING: See DYEING.
PRESSURE MARK: See FINGER MARK.
PRETENSION: The relatively low tension applied to remove kinks and crimp when mounting a
specimen preparatory to making a test or to a textile processing operation, etc.
PRIMARY BACKING: The material, usually woven or nonwoven polypropylene or jute, into
which a carpet is tufted. The primary backing allows the positioning of each tuft and holds the
tufts in position during processing, after which a secondary backing (q.v.) is applied to provide
PRIMARY COLORS: Magenta, yellow, and cyan (red, yellow, blue); these are the subtractive
primaries used when mi
xing dyes, paints, etc., to make all other colors. In the CIE (Commission
Internationale de l’Eclairage) system of color measurement, which is the international system
most widely used today, the primary color vectors are red, green, and blue-violet. These are
additive primaries based on the perception of color of reflected light by the human eye.
PRIMARY CREEP: The recoverable component of creep. (Also see DELAYED
PRINT: A fabric with designs applied by means of dyes or pigments used on engraved rollers,
blocks, or screens. (Also see PRINTING.)
PRINT BONDING: See BONDING, 2.
PRINTCLOTH: A mediumweight, plain-weave fabric made of carded yarns, usually cotton or
polyester/cotton blends, with counts from 28’s to 42’s. Millions of yards of printcloth are printed
annually and other millions are finished as white goods. Large amounts of the goods are also
used in the greige for bags, containers, and base fabric for coated materials.
PRINTING: A process for producing a pattern on yarns, warp, fabric, or carpet by any of a large
number of printing methods. The color or other treating material, usually in the form of a paste,
is deposited onto the fabric which is then usually treated with steam, heat, or chemicals for
fixation. Various types of printing are described below: (Also see DYEING.)
1. Methods of Producing Printed Fabrics:
Block Printing: The printing of fabric by hand, using carved wooden or linoleum blocks, as
distinguished from printing by screens or roller.
Blotch Printing: A process wherein the background color of a design is printed rather than dyed.
Burn-Out Printing: A method of printing to obtain a raised design on a sheer ground. The
design is applied with a special chemical onto a fabric woven of pairs of threads of different
fibers. One of the fibers is then destroyed locally by chemical action. Burn-out printing is often
used on velvet. The product of this operation is known as a burnt-out print.
Direct Printing: A process wherein the colors for the desired designs are applied directly to the
white or dyed cloth, as distinguished from discharge printing and resist printing.
Discharge Printing: In “white” discharge printing, the fabric is piece dyed, then printed with a
paste containing a chemical that reduces the dye and hence removes the color where the white
designs are desired. In “colored” discharge printing, a color is added to the discharge paste in
order to replace the discharged color with another shade.
Duplex Printing: A method of printing a pattern on the face and the back of a fabric with equal
Etching: See PRINTING, Burn-Out Printing.
Extract Printings: See PRINTING, Discharge Printing.
Heat Transfer Printing: A method of printing fabric of polyester
or other thermoplastic fibers with disperse dyes. The design is
transferred from preprinted paper onto the fabric by contact heat
which causes the dye to sublime. Having no affinity for paper, the
dyes are taken up by the fabric. The method is capable of producing
well-defined, clear prints.
Ink-Jet Printing: Non-contact printing that uses electrostatic acceleration and deflection of ink
particles released by small nozzles to form the pattern.
Photographic Printing: A method of printing from photoengraved rollers. The resultant design
looks like a photograph. The designs may also be photographed on a silk screen which is used in
Pigment Printing: Printing by the use of pigments instead of dyes. The pigments do not
penetrate the fiber but are affixed to the surface of the fabric by means of synthetic resins which
are cured after application to make them insoluble. The pigments are insoluble, and application is
in the form of water-in-oil or oil-in-water emulsions of pigment pastes and resins. The colors
produced are bright and generally fat except to crocking.
Resist Printing: A printing method in which the design can be produced: (1) by applying a resist
agent in the desired design, then dyeing the fabric, in which case, the design remains white
although the rest of
the fabric is dyed; or (2) by including a resist agent and a dye in the paste
which is applied for the design, in which case, the color of the design is not affected by
subsequent dyeing of the fabric background.
Roller Printing: The application of designs to fabric, using a machine containing a series of
engraved metal rollers positioned around a large padded cylinder. Print paste is fed to the rollers
and a doctor blade scrapes the paste from the unengraved portion of the roller. Each roller
supplies one color to the finished design, and as the fabric passes between the roller and the
padded cylinder, each color in the design is applied. Most machines are equipped with eight
rollers, although some have sixteen rollers.
Rotary Screen Printing: A combination of roller and
screen printing in which a perforated cylindrical screen is
used to apply color. Color is forced from the interior of
the screen onto the cloth.
Screen Printing: A method of printing similar to using a
stencil. The areas of the screen through which the
coloring matter is not to pass are filled with a waterproof
material. The printing paste which contains the dye is then
forced through the untreated portions of the screen onto
Warp Printing: The printing of a design on the sheet of warp yarns before weaving. The filling
is either white or a neutral color, and a grayed effect is produced in the areas of the design.
2. Methods of Producing Printed Carpets:
Millitron® Process: A computer-controlled, non-contact spray printing process that allows the
production of intricate multicolored designs. Although this process was developed for carpets by
Milliken & Co., it can also be used for upholstery, pile fabrics, and other textiles.
Mitter Printing Machine: A rotary carpet printing machine with up to
eight stainless-steel mesh screens, and with cylindrical squeegees of
moderately large diameter in each rotary screen. The unit has a
streaming zone for dye fixation.
Stalwart Printing Machine: A carpet printing machine in which color
is applied to the carpet with a neoprene sponge laminated to the pattern.
The pattern is cut in a rubber base attached to a wooden roll. It is very
similar to relief printing. Used primarily for overprinting random patterns on dyed carpets.
Suitable for shags and plush carpets as well as level loop and needletuft types.
Zimmer Flatbed Printing Machine (Peter Zimmer): A carpet printing
machine that uses flat screens and dual, metal-roll squeegees. The
squeegees are operated by electromagnets to control the pressure applied.
The unit also has a steamer for dye fixation. The Zimmer flatbed
machine is normally used for carpets of low to medium pile heights.
Very precise designs are possible, but speeds are slower than with rotary
Zimmer Rotary Printing Machine (Johannes Zimmer): A three-step,
rotary carpet printing machine consisting of: (1) rotary screens with small
diameter steel-roll squeegees inside, with pressure adjusted
electromagnetically for initial dyestuff application; (2) infrared heating units to fix dyes on the
tips of the tufts; and (3) application of low-viscosity print paste, followed by steaming for
complete penetration of dyes into tufts.
Zimmer Rotary Printing Machine (Peter Zimmer): A rotary carpet printing machine in which
each rotary screen has a slotted squeegee inside to feed print pastes through the screens to the
carpet. Pressure of the print paste is adjusted by hydrostatic head adjustments.
PRINT PASTE: The mixture of gum or thickener, dye, and appropriate chemicals used in
printing fabrics. Viscosity varies according to the types of printing equipment, the type of cloth,
the degree of penetration desired, etc.
PRODUCER-COLORED: See DYEING, Mass-Colored.
PRODUCER-TEXTURED YARNS: Continuous filament yarns that have been bulked during
manufacturing by the fiber producer. (Also see TEXTURING.)
PRODUCER TWIST: Small amounts of twist, usually ½ turn per inch or less, applied to yarns
by the manufacturer to provide cohesion of filaments for further processing.
PROJECTILE LOOM: A shuttleless loom that uses small, bullet-like projectiles to carry the
filling yarn through the shed. Fill is inserted from the same side of the loom for each pick. A
tucked selvage is formed. (Also see WEFT INSERTION.)
PUCKER: Uneven surface caused by differential shrinkage of the yarns in a fabric or differential
shrinkage of the fabric and sewing thread. May be desirable and planned, or undesirable.
PULLED-IN FILLING: An extra thread dragged into the shed with the regular pick and
extending only a part of the way across the fabric.
PULP: The end product of cooking wood chips, cotton, or some source of cellulose with water
and appropriate chemicals. Used in the manufacture of cellulosic fibers, paper, and other
PULTRUSION: The production of continuous lengths of fiber-reinforced advanced composites.
Fibers are fed as roving, fabric, or mat, or some combination of these, through a resin
impregnation process, to a forming guide, then to a heated die to produce a specific shape, and
finally to a puller where the structure is pulled through different forming and cooling stages.
Thermoplastic fibers may be substituted for the resin in the pultrusion process
PURL: 1. A knitting stitch that results in horizontal ridges across the fabric. It
is made by drawing alternate courses through each side of the fabric. 2. A picot
or small loop that edges needlework, lace, or ribbon. Sometimes spelled pearl.
(Also see PICOT.) 3. Coiled gold or silver thread used for embroidery.
PYROLYSIS: A chemical change brought about by the action of heat, usually
in the absence of a reactive medium. Complex chemical molecules are reduced
to simpler chemical units as a result of pyrolysis.
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