Difference Between Olefin and Polypropylene

Key Difference – Olefin vs Polypropylene

Olifin and polypropylene are two industrial grade fibers which are extensively used for a wide range of applications. Polypropylene fibers are made from propylene molecules whereas olefin fibers can be produced using olefin molecules such as ethylene and propylene. This is the key difference between Olefin and Polypropylene.

What is Olefin?

Olefin is a synthetically produced fiber from polyolefin molecules such as polypropylene or polyethylene. It is used to produce wallpapers, carpets, vehicle interiors, protective clothes and ropes. Olefin has some promising qualities such as strength, colorfastness, and comfort.  In addition, it is resistant to abrasion, staining sunlight, acids, fungi, and mildew. Olefin fibers degrade slowly in sunlight and stain by oils.

Difference Between Olefin and Polypropylene

What is Polypropylene?

Polypropylene (PP) or polypropene is a thermoplastic polymer which is made by the polymerization of propylene. It has a wide range of industrial applications such as in packaging, labeling, manufacturing plastic parts, reusable containers, laboratory equipment, automotive equipment, loudspeakers, and stationery. It is resistant to many chemicals and is rugged in nature. In addition, it has a relatively slippery surface which  does not allow it to join adequately with glues. Welding processes are usually used to join polypropylene materials.Key Difference -  Olefin vs  Polypropylene

What is the difference between Olefin and Polypropylene?


Olefin: Olefin fibers can have several molecular structures since several types of molecules can be used to produce them. For example; ethylene, propylene or any other olefins. Two types of polymers are used in olefin fibers. The first, polyethylene, is a simple linear structure with repeating units. These fibers are used mainly for ropes, twines, and utility fabrics. The second type, polypropylene, is a three-dimensional structure with a backbone of carbon atoms.

Polypropylene: Polypropylene is made by the polymerization of propylene molecules.

Difference Between Olefin and Polypropylene - 3


Olefin: Olefin is used in several areas for various industrial applications. In the apparel industry, it is used in activewear, sportswear (socks) and thermal underwear (lining fabrics). It is also used in automotive parts in some equipment; for example, interior fabrics used in or on kick panel, package shelf, seat construction, truck liners and load decks. Moreover, it is used in home furnishings; indoor and outdoor carpets, carpet backing, wall coverings and in furniture.

Polypropylene: Polypropylene can be used in packaging, labeling, manufacturing plastic parts, reusable containers, laboratory equipment, automotive equipment, loudspeakers, and stationery.


Olefin: Olefin is a strong, lightweight, abrasion resistant, thermally bondable and comfortable material. It is also resistant to sunlight, soil and staining. Olefin is resistant to deterioration from chemicals, perspiration, mildew, rot and weather. It also has quick drying properties and able to provide a good bulk and cover.

In particular, the stains on the olefin fabric can be readily removed by spotting with warm water and detergent. Bleaches can also be used if needed. This fabric can be laundered and it should be line dried or tumble dried with gentle heat or no heat after laundering. Olefin dries very rapidly.

Polypropylene: In general, polypropylene is a flexible, low dense and tough material. Most of the properties of polypropylene are quite similar to polyethylene. It has an extra methyl group which improves mechanical and thermal resistance but decreases the chemical resistance. Polypropylene is resistant to fats and all most all organic chemicals, except strong oxidants at the room temperature.

“Olefin Fiber” – Fiber Source
“Olefin” - Global Britannica
“Olefin Fibers” - Textile Fibers
Image Courtesy:
“Red Polypropylene Chair with Stainless Steel Structure” By Alex Rio Brazil – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
“612818” (Public Domain) via Pixabay
“Polypropylene” By NEUROtiker – Own work (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia