Textile Notes: The smallest visible unit, Fibers


The important thing is to never stop questioning.

Albert Einstein

Photo source: Clariant

  • Did you know that world’s total fiber production is above 75 million? Polyester and Cotton are the first two leading fibers and Silk is the least produced and the most expensive one.
  • Producing more fibers is an issue right now, because of the petroleum based problems (such as not having enough materials, pollution etc.).

So, what we can do is to use natural wasted products, or in other words: Agricultural Byproducts.

  • Byproducts produced from corn, wheat, rice, sorghum, barley, sugarcane, pineapple, banana and coconut are the major sources of this type of fibers.
  • It is important to know the chemical&physical structure of a fiber to be able to choose a proper material for your textile work:

Monomers form Polymers form Fiber forms Yarn forms Fabric

When you treat Fabric (pretreatment, coloration, after treatment steps), you will have your Product, which is ready to Retail.

  • According to where they are produced from, fibers are classified into 2 main types:

1. Natural Fibers

Those are the ones that nature gives us as a gift. They are biodegradable.

The source can be plants (Cellulose; cotton, linen, ramie, jute, hemp, agave, flax) or animals (silk, wool, cashmere, mohair).

There are also Natural Rubber, which is mainly in the form of latex; and Asbestoswhich is extremely dangerous to use since it is carcinogen.

2. Manufactured Fibers

Those are the man-made fibers. Many of these are synthetic meanwhile some of them still come from a natural polymer.

Natural polymer based: Cellulosics (rayon, acetate, lyocell, azlon)

Synthetics: Nylon, Olefin, Acrylic, Polyester, Spandex, PLA, Polyurethane

There are also Glass, Ceramic and Metallic fibers, which are basically derived from minerals and can be classified under Inorganic Fibers label.

Did you know that Metallic Fiber is the very first manufactured fiber from the ancient times. Many sources say it is Rayon, however do not forget that Gold and Silver have been used since ancient times! Interested in? Read more here and here

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