Sliver Yarns Tows

A sliver (rhymes with diver) is a long bundle of fibre that is generally used to spin yarn. A sliver is created by carding or combing the fibre, which is then drawn into long strips where the fibre is parallel. When sliver is drawn further and given a slight twist, it becomes roving.

Spun yarn is made by twisting or otherwise bonding staple fibres together to make a cohesive thread, or "single." Twisting fibresspinning yarn into yarn in the process called spinning can be dated back to the Upper Paleolithic, and yarn spinning was one of the very first processes to be industrialized. Spun yarns may contain a single type of fibre, or be a blend of various types. Combining synthetic fibres (which can have high strength, lustre, and fire retardant spinning yarn qualities) with natural fibres (which have good water absorbency and skin comforting qualities) is very common. The most widely used blends are cotton-polyester and wool-acrylic fibre blends. Blends of different natural fibres are common too, especially with more expensive fibres such as alpaca, angora and cashmere. Bamboo yarn is a less expensive type that is a recent innovation.

Yarns are selected for different textiles based on the characteristics of the yarn fibres, such as warmth (wool), light weight (cotton or bamboo), durability (nylon is added to sock yarn, for example), or softness (cashmere, alpaca). Acrylic yarn is the least expensive.

Yarns are made up of a number of singles, which are known as plies when grouped together. These singles of yarn are twisted together (plied) in the opposite direction to make a thicker yarn. Depending on the direction of this final twist, the yarn will be known as s-twist or z-twist. For a single, the direction of the final twist is the same as its original twist.

In the composites industry, a tow is an untwisted bundle of continuous filaments, and it refers to man-made fibres, particularly carbon fibres (also called graphite).

Tows are designated by the number of fibres they contain, e.g., a 12K tow contains about 12,000 fibres.

In the textile industry, a tow (rhymes with cow, unless referring to cellulose acetate which sounds like toe) is a coarse, broken fibre such as flax, hemp, or jute. Flax tows are often used as upholstery stuffing, and tows in general are frequently cut up to produce staple fibre.

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