Olefin is a synthetic fiber used in the construction of textiles, industrial and residential building materials as well as rope. What sets olefin apart from other synthetic fibers is the fact that it is constructed primarily from an assortment of different alkenes (an organic unsaturated chemical compound) and in fact can be formulated with different alkenes to achieve similar though unique results which exhibit different characteristics. Olefin was first produced in Italy in 1957 by Nobel prize-winning chemist Giulio Natta.
Olefin fiber is popular for having increased bulk with a low specific gravity. Specifically, the fibers have lots of space between their individual molecules which allows for extra air to be trapped. This means that olefin is an excellent insulator. Additionally, olefin is prized for its fiber strength which is a characteristic that is exhibited in both wet and dry states.
Typically clothing this fiber is used for outdoor and activewear as well as thermal underwear and fabric lining. Due to the lightweight, breathing and insulating nature of these fibers olefin containing clothing is especially popular among outdoor enthusiasts.
In addition to being used for the production of clothing olefin is also commonly used in the production of carpeting, upholstery, curtains, automotive interiors as well as many industrial uses.