Acetate Filter Tow Fiber
Acetate Textile Filament Fiber

First U.S. Commercial Acetate Fiber Production: 1924, Celanese Corporation

Current U.S. Acetate Fiber Producers: Celanese Acetate; Eastman Chemical Company

Federal Trade Commission Definition for Acetate Fiber: A manufactured fiber in which the fiber forming substance is cellulose acetate. Where not less than 92% of the hydroxyl groups are acetylated, the term triacetate may be used as a generic description of the fiber. (Complete FTC Fiber Rules here.)

Basic Principles of Acetate Fiber Production — Acetate is derived from cellulose by reacting purified cellulose from wood pulp with acetic acid and acetic anhydride in the presence of sulfuric acid. It is then put through a controlled, partial hydrolysis to remove the sulfate and a sufficient number of acetate groups to give the product the desired properties. The anhydroglucose unit, is the fundamental repeating structure of cellulose, has three hydroxyl groups which can react to form acetate esters. The most common form of cellulose acetate fiber has an acetate group on approximately two of every three hydroxyls. This cellulose diacetate is known as secondary acetate, or simply as “acetate”.

After it is formed, cellulose acetate is dissolved in acetone for extrusion. As the filaments emerge from the spinneret, the solvent is evaporated in warm air (dry spinning), producing fine filaments of cellulose acetate.

Acetate Fiber Characteristics

  • Luxurious feel and appearance
  • Wide range of colors and lusters
  • Excellent drapability and softness
  • Relatively fast drying
  • Shrink, moth and mildew resistant

Special dyes have been developed for acetate since it does not accept dyes ordinarily used for cotton and rayon. This dye selectivity makes it possible to obtain multi-color effects in fabrics made from a combination of fibers (cross-dyeing). In cross-dyeing, yarns of one fiber (e.g., acetate) and those of another fiber (cotton or rayon) are woven into a fabric in a desired pattern. After the fabric has been dyed in one bath, this pattern will appear in different colors or shades according to the distribution of the respective fibers. Solution-dyed or spun-dyed acetate provides excellent color fastness under the effects of sunlight, perspiration, air contaminants and washing.

Some Major Acetate Fiber Uses

  • Apparel: Blouses, linings, wedding and party attire, home furnishings, draperies
  • Industrial Uses: Cigarette filters

General Acetate Fiber Care Tips — Acetate garments should be dry-cleaned, but if laundering is indicated, use the following guide:

  • Handwash in warm water with mild suds.
  • Do not twist or wring out garment.
  • Do not soak colored items.
  • Press while damp on wrong side with cool iron. For finishing on the right side, use a pressing cloth.
    (For specific instructions, refer to garment’s sewn-in care label.)

Note: Acetate is adversely affected by acetone and other organic solvents, such as nail polish remover and perfumes containing these solvents.