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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fleece fabric

Polar fleece (also known as microfleece or micrafleece), usually referred to simply as "fleece," is a soft napped insulating synthetic wool fabric made from PET or other synthetic fibres. One of the first forms was Polar Fleece created in 1979 by Malden Mills, now Polartec LLC., a new, light and strong pile fabric meant to mimic and in some ways surpass wool. Fleece has some of wool's finest qualities but weighs a fraction of the lightest available woolens.

Fleece is used in casual jackets, hats, sweaters, jogging bottoms/sweatpants, gym clothes, hoodies, inexpensive throw blankets, and high-performance outdoor clothing, and can be a vegan alternative to wool. It can be made partially from recycled plastic bottles and is very light, soft and easy to wash.[1]

Aaron Feuerstein actively did not patent Polar fleece, allowing the material to be produced cheaply and widely by many vendors, promoting the material's wide acceptance.

Fleece garments traditionally come in different thickness: micro, 100, 200, and 300, with 300 being the thickest and least flexible.

Advantages of fleece are that it is:

* Soft and comfortable to wear.
* Very warm and provides warmth without weighing a lot.
* Hydrophobic, holding less than 1% of its weight in water when fully soaked and simultaneously highly breathable. Due to this, water vapor from perspiration passes through readily and little is held within the fleece. This makes it a good choice for physical activities where sweating is likely to occur.
* Can be considered environmentally friendly as it can be made from recycled plastic PET bottles.
* Machine washable and dries quickly. Specific washing instructions include cold or cool water (no more than 30–40°C), line-dry, and do not iron.
* A good alternative for those who are allergic or sensitive to wool.
* Dries very quickly and retains much of its insulation capability even when it is wet, because of its hydrophobic properties.

* Is flammable. Fleece without fire retardant is categorized as a Group I flammable fabric; with fire retardant, a Group II flammable fabric. (Group III fabrics are the least flammable and are made from natural animal hair, such as wool, from silks and from hides.
* Is made from a non-renewable natural resource: petroleum.
* The fabric doesn't absorb moisture as well as natural fiber fabrics such as cotton and wool (however this is usually a desired effect of fleece).[6][7][8]
* It tends to generate very high static electricity charges. This makes it a magnet for pet hairs and other dust and fluff.
* Not windproof (although some more expensive grades are denser and designed to be windproof., and some have plastic membranes laminated with them to block wind.)
* Can be damaged by high-temperature washing (temperatures at or below 30 to 40°C are recommended), or by tumble drying and ironing (only a cool iron is OK).
* Lower-quality grades are susceptible to pilling and to early wear and tear.
* In some instances it may tear easily.


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