acrylic, artificial fiber made from a special group of vinyl compounds, primarily acrylonitrile. Acrylic fibers are thermoplastic (i.e., soften when heated, reharden upon cooling), have low moisture regain, are low in density, and can be made into bulky fabrics. They wash and dry easily and are dimensionally stable. They are resistant to bleaches, dilute acids, and alkalies, and to weathering and microbiological attack.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.