Fiber or fibre is a class of materials that are continuous filaments or are
in discrete elongated pieces, similar to lengths of thread. Fibers are of great importance in the
biology of both plants and animals,
for holding tissues together. Human uses
for fibers are diverse. They can be spun into filaments, thread,
string or rope. They can be used as a
component of composite materials. They
can also be matted into sheets to make products such as paper or felt.
Fibers are often used in the manufacture of other
of natural fibers
Natural fibers include those made from
plant, animal and mineral sources. Natural fibers can be classified
according to their origin.
are generally comprised mainly of cellulose: examples include cotton, linen, jute, flax, ramie, sisal, and
hemp. Cellulose fibers serve in the
manufacture of paper and cloth. This fiber can be further categorized
into the following:
- Seed fiber:
Fibers collected from seeds or seed cases. e.g. cotton and kapok.
- Leaf fiber:
Fibers collected from leaves. e.g. sisal and agave.
- Bast fiber or
skin fiber: Fibers are collected from the skin or bast surrounding
the stem of their respective plant. These fibers have higher
tensile strength than other fibers. Therefore, these fibers are
used for durable yarn, fabric, packaging, and paper. Some examples
are jute, kenaf, industrial hemp, ramie, rattan, soybean
fiber, and even vine fibers and banana fibers.
- Fruit fiber:
Fibers are collected from the fruit of the plant, e.g. coconut
- Stalk fiber:
Fibers are actually the stalks of the plant. E.g. straws of wheat,
rice, barley, and other crops including bamboo and grass. Tree wood is also such a
The most used natural fibers are cotton,
flax and hemp, although sisal, jute, kenaf, and coconut are also
generally comprise proteins; examples include silk, wool, angora, mohair and
- Animal hair (wool or hairs): Fiber or
wool taken from animals or hairy
mammals. e.g. sheep's wool, goat hair (alpaca, Cashmere),
horse hair, etc.
- Silk fiber: Fiber collected from dried
saliva of bugs or insects during the preparation of cocoons. Examples include silk from silk
- Avian fiber: Fibers from birds, e.g.
feathers and feather fiber.
are naturally occurring fiber or slightly modified fiber procured
from minerals. These can be categorized into the following
- Asbestos: The
only naturally occurring mineral fiber. Variations are serpentine (chrysotile) and amphiboles (amorist, crocidolite, tremolite, actinolite, and anthophyllite).
fibers: Glass fibers (Glass wool and Quartz), aluminum
oxide, silicon carbide, and
- Metal fibers:
Man-made fibers may come from natural raw
materials or from synthetic chemicals.
Many types of fiber 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 or
derivitized cellulose such as the cellulose
The most well-known mineral fibers are glass
and metal fibers.
- Fiberglas made
from specific glass formulas 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 carbonized polymers, but the end product is
- 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. Such fibers are made from:
- polyamide nylon,
- PET or PBT polyester
- phenol-formaldehyde (PF)
- polyvinyl alcohol fiber (PVOH)
- polyvinyl chloride fiber (PVC)
- polyolefins (PP and PE)
polymers, pure polyacrylonitrile 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.
polyamids such as Twaron, Kevlar and Nomex thermally
degrade at high temperatures and do not melt. These fibers have
strong bonding between polymer chains
(PE), eventually with extremely long chains / HMPE (e.g. Dyneema or Spectra).
can even be used, e.g. spandex
although urethane fibers are starting to replace spandex
- 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 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 foil radar signals.
Micro fibers 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 ultrafine fibers (glass or meltblown
thermoplastic) often used in flirtation. 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 tribunal. The latter design provides
more optically reflective properties. Synthetic textile fibers are
often crimped to provide bulk in a woven, nonwoven 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
Cotton, wool, and man-made
staple products are converted to yarn by a process called spinning.
Upholstery fabric yarns are spun by three basic
is the process of creating yarn ,(or thread, rope,
cable) from various raw fiber materials.
In spinning, separate fibers are twisted together to bind
them into a stronger, long yarn. Characteristics of the yarn vary,
based on the material used, fiber length and alignment, quantity of
fiber used and degree of twist.here the
old tools for spining Twist and
hand-turned spinning wheel in
action Top of
COTTON BEING SPUN
The direction in which the yarn is spun is called twist, and
yarns are characterized as Z-twist or S-twist according to the
direction of spinning (see diagram). Tightness of twist is measured
in (twists per inch).Two or more spun yarns may be twisted together
or plied to form a thicker yarn. Generally, handspun single plies
are spun with a Z-twist, and plying is done with an S-twist.
Z-twist and S-twist yarns.
The modern spinning of textiles is a highly technical process and
there are two common and very distinctly different methods.
Convention ring spinning uses a continuous band (for want of a
better term) of fibers which are unbroken during manufacture. By
contrast open-end spinning depends on that continuous band being
deliberately broken down into a stream of fibers. They are
independant of one another usually in a stream of air. The great
advantage of open-end spinning is that to insert twist into the yarn
only the end of the yarn needs to be rotated. Whereas in
conventional ring spinning the whole package of yarn must be rotated
to insert twist. This limits the speed of ring spinning to a maximum
of approximately 25,000rpm, whilst open-end machines are capable of
in excess or 100,000rpm. However the downside is that open-end yarns
are not as strong as ring spun yarns and the fabrics are not as soft
handling and usually not as hard wearing - but they are less
In wrap spinning, a bundle of parallel fibers is wrapped in
a spiraling fashion with other fibers. A bundle may contain
150-200 individual fibers along its length, yet not be thicker
than a paper clip. Yarns spun by other methods are similar in
size. Warp spinning is suitable for making strong, dense
- In ring spinning a
parallel bundle of fibers is tightly twisted for cohesion and
strength. No wrapper fiber is
OPEN END SPINNING
- With open end spinning the
yarn has individual fibers that are not arranged as uniformly as
in wrap or ring spun yarns. Most of the fibers are generally
parallel, but with lots of crisscrossing, while some fiber
irregularly wraps around the main
Weaving is an ancient
textile art and craft that involves
placing two sets of threads or yarn called the
weft of the
turning them into cloth.
In general, weaving involves the interlacing of two
sets of threads at right angles to each other: the warp and the
weft. The warp are held taut and in parallel order, typically by
means of a loom, though some forms of weaving may use other
fabrics are constructed for
durability and stability on quality by three processes: Weaving,
Tufting and Knitting
Woven fabrics interlace yarns essentially at right
angles. In velvet wovens, the plush pile is locked in by an
interlocking system as shown here.
construction techniques range from simple basket-weaves to complex
jacquard structures with patterns typical of brocade and