It may seem like an unusual bit of information but I actually know how carpet is made.
It is not the kind of thing that comes at a dinner parties often but when it does, I can make a couple of points that no one else has ever considered. Because let’s face it, how often do you sit around an ponder how carpet is manufactured? Not very…
So lets start with a basic distinction. I am talking about manmade fiber carpet like nylon or polyester or some polymer based material. The same material may be used to make rugs as well.
And nylon, polyesters and the like are polymers – plastics. these plastics are made from mixing chemicals together in a reactor, they form a bond and react and out comes a wet molten polymer resin. All of this can be pretty dangerous as it is usually under high temperatures and high pressures and molten resin can cause a lot of damage if it gets on a person.
The resin is then run through a piece of equipment called an extruder which is kind of like a tube with a screw in it and the screw pushes the molten lava (did I say lava?) ,I mean resin, through a bunch of very fine holes in a spinneret plate. The resin is now in the form of fibers and they cool quickly are can now be turned into carpet.
This fiber is very fine, similar to the synthetic hair in a Halloween wig.
But if you look very closely (like under a microscope) you will see that each fiber actually has a cross-section that is unique. Some are round. Some are tri-lobal (they have 3 ends sticking off). Each cross-section has pros and cons which are beyond the scope of this article. Let’s just say that I bet you didn’t know the word tri-lobal before you started reading this article…
These carpet fibers go on for miles and miles and are eventually treated in a series of steps and twisted and tufted into the lovely carpet that is used in commercial and residential applications.