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Fibre Definitions

Acetate – also refers to cellulose acetate. Cellulose acetate or acetate rayon fiber is a synthetic fiber based on cotton or tree pulp cellulose. It is very economical petro-based fiber. Invented by Swiss brothers, Doctors Camille and Henri Dreyfus in Basel, Switzerland. The first commercial acetate filament was spun in the United States in 1924 and trademarked as Celanese.

Acrylic – a synthetic polymer fiber containing at least 85% acrylonitrile.

Angora rabbit – a domestic rabbit variety, believed to be originated in Turkey along with Angora cat and Angora goat, bred for its long, soft, usually white hair. Fiber obtained from Angora rabbit is more warm than wool and is durable.

Camel hair – a soft and fine hair of a camel or a substitute for it. A soft, heavy-weight, usually light tan cloth is made from the camel hair.

Cashmere – a hair fiber obtained from the fine, downy wool found beneath the outer hair of the Cashmere goat. It is extremely warm and is constructed into fine or thick yarns, and light-weight to heavy-weight fabrics. Used as men’s and women’s coats, jackets and blazers, skirts, hosiery, sweaters, gloves, scarves, mufflers, caps and robes.

Cellulose – a common material of plant cell walls first noted in 1838. Chemically, it is a complex carbohydrate composed of glucose units. Products like paper, textiles (rayon), pharmaceuticals, and smokeless gunpowders are manufactured from it.

Coir – a coarse fiber obtained from the husk, the fibrous outer shell of a coconut, used chiefly in making rope and matting.

Cotton – a soft fiber obtained from the shrubby plants of the genus Gossypium (cotton plant). It is grown around the seeds of the plant. The fiber is spun into thread for making soft and breathable textile.

Flax – a soft, lustrous and flexible fiber obtained from the slender stems of a widely cultivated plant, Linum usitatissimum. The higher grade of flax fiber is used to make linen fabrics like damasks, lace and sheeting. Twine and rope is produced from the coarser grade.

Hemp – a tough, coarse fiber obtained from cannabis plant. It is strong, durable and unaffected by water. Hemp fiber is used in making rope, sack, carpet, nets and webbing.

Jute – a long, soft, shiny fiber which are spun into coarse and strong threads. It is obtained from a jute plant belonging to the genus Corchorus in the basswood family, Tiliaceae. It is mainly used to make gunny sacks and gunny cloth.

Kevlar – a synthetic fiber five times stronger than steel and highly heat resistant, decomposes above 400 °C. It is mainly used for bulletproof vests, extreme sports equipments, and composite aircraft contruction. It replaces asbestos, steel cords in car tires and in fire suits. Also known as Twaron and poly-paraphenylene terephthalamide.

Linen – it is made from the fibers of the flax plant. Linen is mainly used for cloth, canvases, sails, tents, and paper.

Lycra – a fiber that is capable of stretching up to 500% and then bounce back. It is also a trademark for Invista, for a synthetic fabric of the same elasticity property. It is a sort of generically known “spandex”.

Lyocell – a fiber obtained from wood pulp cellulose. The Federal Trade Commission classifies it as a sub-category of rayon. Mainly used in making clothes, like jeans, trousers and coats.

Metallic fibers – a fiber either composed of meta, or fibers of other materials having a metal coating. Mainly used for decoration and the reduction of static electricity.

Modacrylic – a textile medium-weight fiber containing 35-85% acrylonitrile with fair strength and abrasion resistance. Also known as modified acrylic, it has good drape and is highly resistant to sunlight. Mainly used as fur-like fabrics, wigs, and upholstery.

Mohair – long silky hair of Angora goad. The fabric obtained is a silk-like and is durable, light and warm.

Nylon – a fiber made from any of numerous strong and tough elastic synthetic polyamide materials. It is used in making synthetic fabrics. A very famous end use is women’s stockings.

Olefin – an alkene hydrocarbon. The term obtained from olefiant gas, an early name for ethylene which mean “oil-forming”.

Polyester – a fiber made a category of polymer whose monomer contains the ester functional group. The fabrics made out of it is light, strong, weather-resistant and wrinkle-resistant.

Rayon – a transparent fiber obtained from processed cellulose. It was originally named artificial silk or wood silk as it closely resembled silk. It absorbs water, giving more comfort to wear as a clothing textile.

Silk – a natural, fine, lustrous fiber obtained from the cocoon of the silkworms larva through a process called sericulture.

Spandex – a synthetic fiber made from polymer containing polyurethan. Also known as elastane. It is strong and more durable than rubber. It is exceptionally elastic.

Synthetic fibers – fibers that are the result of extensive research by scientists to increase and improve the supply of natural fibers that have been used in making cloth. Few examples of synthetic fibers are rayon, acetate, nylon, modacrylic, olefin, acrylic and polyester.

Viscose – an organic liquid used to make rayon, obtained from cellulose of wood or cotton fibers. It is treated with sodium hydroxide and then mixed with carbon disulphide forming cellulose xanthate. This is dissolved in more sodium hydroxide resulting in viscose to be extruded through a slit to make cellophane, or through a spinneret to make viscose rayon.

Wool – a fiber obtained from the hair of domesticated animals, like sheep, goat, alpaca.


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