in Fiber
Textile fiber

A unit in which many complicated textile structures are built up is said to be textile fiber.

Textile Fiber is the basic constituent (Basic raw material) required for textile industry.

Natural fibers

Main article: Natural fiber

Natural fibers include those produced by plants, animals, and geological processes. They are biodegradable over time. They can be classified according to their origin:

Vegetable fibers are generally based on arrangements of cellulose, often with lignin: examples include cotton, hemp, jute, flax, ramie, and sisal. Plant fibers are employed in the manufacture of paper and textile (cloth), and dietary fiber is an important component of human nutrition.

Wood fiber, distinguished from vegetable fiber, is from tree sources. Forms include groundwood, thermomechanical pulp (TMP) and bleached or unbleached kraft or sulfite pulps. Kraft and sulfite, also called sulphite, refer to the type of pulping process used to remove the lignin bonding the original wood structure, thus freeing the fibers for use in paper and engineered wood products such as fiberboard.

Animal fibers consist largely of particular proteins. Instances are spider silk, sinew, catgut, wool and hair such as cashmere, mohair and angora, fur such as sheepskin, rabbit, mink, fox, beaver, etc.

Mineral fibers comprise asbestos. Asbestos is the only naturally occurring long mineral fiber. Short, fiber-like minerals include wollastonite, attapulgite and halloysite.

Man-made fibers

Synthetic or man-made fibers generally come from synthetic materials such as petrochemicals. But some types of synthetic fibers are manufactured from natural cellulose, including rayon, modal, and the more recently developed Lyocell. Cellulose-based fibers are of two types, regenerated or pure cellulose such as from the cupro-ammonium process and modified cellulose such as the cellulose acetates.

Fiber classification in reinforced plastics falls into two classes: (i) short fibers, also known as discontinuous fibers, with a general aspect ratio (defined as the ratio of fiber length to diameter) between 20 to 60, and (ii) long fibers, also known as continuous fibers, the general aspect ratio is between 200 to 500.

Cellulose fibers

Cellulose fibers are a subset of man-made fibers, regenerated from natural cellulose. The cellulose comes from various sources. Modal is made from beech trees, bamboo fiber is a cellulose fiber made from bamboo, seacell is made from seaweed, etc.

Mineral fibers

Fiberglass, made from specific glass, and optical fiber, made from purified natural quartz, are also man-made fibers that come from natural raw materials.

Metallic fibers can be drawn from ductile metals such as copper, gold or silver and extruded or deposited from more brittle ones, such as nickel, aluminum or iron.

Carbon fibers are often based on carbonised polymers, but the end product is pure carbon.

Polymer fibers

Polymer fibers are a subset of man-made fibers, which are based on synthetic chemicals (often from petrochemical sources) rather than arising from natural materials by a purely physical process. These fibers are made from:

polyamide nylon,

PET or PBT polyester

phenol-formaldehyde (PF)

polyvinyl alcohol fiber (PVA)

polyvinyl chloride fiber (PVC)

polyolefins (PP and PE)

acrylic polyesters, pure polyester PAN fibers are used to make carbon fiber by roasting them in a low oxygen environment. Traditional acrylic fiber is used more often as a synthetic replacement for wool. Carbon fibers and PF fibers are noted as two resin-based fibers that are not thermoplastic, most others can be melted.

Aromatic polyamids (aramids) such as Twaron, Kevlar and Nomex thermally degrade at high temperatures and do not melt. These fibers have strong bonding between polymer chains

polyethylene (PE), eventually with extremely long chains / HMPE (e.g. Dyneema or Spectra).

Elastomers can even be used, e.g. spandex although urethane fibers are starting to replace spandex technology.

polyurethane fiber

Coextruded fibers have two distinct polymers forming the fiber, usually as a core-sheath or side-by-side. Coated fibers exist such as nickel-coated to provide static elimination, silver-coated to provide anti-bacterial properties and aluminum-coated to provide RF deflection for radar chaff. Radar chaff is actually a spool of continuous glass tow that has been aluminum coated. An aircraft-mounted high speed cutter chops it up as it spews from a moving aircraft to confuse radar signals.


Microfibers in textiles refer to sub-denier fiber (such as polyester drawn to 0.5 dn). Denier and Detex are two measurements of fiber yield based on weight and length. If the fiber density is known you also have a fiber diameter, otherwise it is simpler to measure diameters in micrometers. Microfibers in technical fibers refer to ultra fine fibers (glass or meltblown thermoplastics) often used in filtration. Newer fiber designs include extruding fiber that splits into multiple finer fibers. Most synthetic fibers are round in cross-section, but special designs can be hollow, oval, star-shaped or trilobal. The latter design provides more optically reflective properties. Synthetic textile fibers are often crimped to provide bulk in a woven, non woven or knitted structure. Fiber surfaces can also be dull or bright. Dull surfaces reflect more light while bright tends to transmit light and make the fiber more transparent.

Very short and/or irregular fibers have been called fibrils. Natural cellulose, such as cotton or bleached kraft, show smaller fibrils jutting out and away from the main fiber structure.

See also

Optical fiber

Fiber crop

Tensile strength

Molded pulp

Dietary fiber

Fibers in Differential Geometry

International Year of Natural Fibres


^ Hans-J. Koslowski. "Dictionary of Man-made fibers". Second edition. Deutscher Fachverlag. 2009

^ Serope Kalpakjian, Steven R Schmid. "Manufacturing Engineering and Technology". International edition. 4th Ed. Prentice Hall, Inc. 2001. ISBN 0-13-017440-8.

^ Hans-J. Koslowski. "Dictionary of Man-made fibers". Second edition. Deutscher Fachverlag. 2009

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Alpaca  Angora  Bison Down  Camel hair  Cashmere  Catgut  Chiengora  Llama  Mohair  Pashmina  Qiviut  Rabbit  Silk  Sinew  Spider silk  Wool  Vicua  Yak


Abac  Bamboo  Coir  Cotton  Flax  Hemp  Jute  Kapok  Kenaf  Pia  Raffia palm  Ramie  Sisal  Wood


Asbestos  Basalt  Mineral wool  Glass wool


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Blocking  Fiber art  Mathematics and fiber arts  Manufacturing 

Preservation  Terminology  Textile industry  Textile Museums   Units of measurement  Wearable fiber art

Categories: Fibers | Materials | TextilesHidden categories: Articles needing additional references from April 2009 | All articles needing additional references
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This article was published on 2011/01/13