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Synthetic fabrics are made from man-made materials. Some types of synthetic fabric include polyester, nylon, and acrylic, along with brand-name materials such as Dacron, Kevlar, and Spandex. The fibers used to make synthetic fabrics are derived from oil, coal, or natural gas. They can be dyed during the process of creating the fibers, which allows for brighter and longer-lasting color than can be achieved with natural fabrics.
Manufacturers of synthetic fabrics can also add other chemicals during fiber creation to make the final product resistant to water, flame, wrinkling, or insects. Because of these added chemicals, synthetic fabrics sometimes have properties that natural fabrics cannot match, such as being waterproof or extremely stretchable.
Synthetic fabrics are often used for clothing, but they can also be used to make tents, blankets, upholstery, parachutes, diapers, drapes, and more. Synthetic fabrics may be soft, stiff, lightweight, heavy, or sheer. Some synthetic fabrics can be washed in a machine, while others require hand-washing or dry cleaning. Unlike natural fabrics, synthetic fabrics are not biodegradable. They also tend to be less breathable than natural fabrics. The chemicals used in creating synthetic fabric may also leach out of the fabric, posing potential health or environmental problems.
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