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The denier difference
A key difference between the fibers in new soft-handed carpet and traditional carpet fibers is the denier.
Denier is actually a measurement of weight, specifically the weight in grams of 9,000 meters of a filament, fiber or yarn. The thinner a fiber, the less it will weigh. The denier of a filament of soft fibers ranges from 3.5 to 5, compared to standard nylon filament with denier of 12 to 18.
It would require approximately three times as many individual low denier filaments to produce the same face weight of yarn as a standard filament.
Mohawk states that they use up to 700 individual filaments in each fiber of Smartstrand Silk.
More filaments mean more surface area. Greater surface area means more places for dirt to hide or be trapped as well as greater drag or resistance to a vacuum or cleaning tool moving across the surface.
Of course, different fibers have different weights. So, a 5 denier filament of nylon would not be the exact thickness of a 5 denier filament of polyester or PTT.
Denier is used to describe the fineness of individual filaments or of yarns made up of many filaments.