Chemistry of textile fibres
Robert R Mather and Roger H Wardman
Cambridge, UK: RSC Publishing 2010 | 388pp | £31.99 (HB)
Reviewed by Paul Garside
This book covers plant, animal, synthetic, regenerated, novel and functional fibres
The scope is comprehensive, encompassing not only the relatively common plant, animal, synthetic and regenerated fibres but also state-of-the-art specialised and functional materials. A fairly strong grounding in chemistry is assumed (the text is intended to be suitable for A-level and undergraduate students), but the chemical processes involved are generally well described and easy to follow.
The initial chapters (on natural and synthetic fibres) contain information readily found in other books on textile chemistry, but they are well organised and accessible.
Importantly, the properties of different fibre types are presented in a consistent and uniform manner, which is not always the case with multi-authored books dealing with the same subject. Contemporary concerns, including environmental impact and the use of genetically modified organisms, are also addressed.
The chapters on novel and functional fibres (such as high performance fabrics, nanofibres, and conductive and luminescent materials) are particularly useful, as these bring together information on a range of innovative materials which will become increasingly important.
There are a few minor reservations: whilst the micrographs are generally of good quality, some of the schematic diagrams are rather basic and not necessarily easy to interpret at first glance. Given the number of abbreviations and acronyms employed in the book (and commonly found in the wider literature in the field), a glossary of these terms would also have
Overall this book is a valuable introduction to the current state of textile chemistry for a newcomer with a chemical background, and a useful day-to-day reference for those working in areas such as textile technology or textile conservation.
RSC members can purchase this book direct from the RSC for a 35% discount.
Robert R Mather
This is the only book on the chemistry of textile fibres aimed at 'A' level students and first-year undergraduates.