Natural Fibre Fabric

  • Wool
  • Dyed new wool

Wool fiber grows from the skin of sheep and is a relatively coarse and crimped fibre with scales on its surface. It is composed of protein. The fibre appearance varies depending on the breed of the sheep. Finer, softer and warmer fibres tend to be with more and smoother scales. Thicker, less warm fibres have fewer and rougher scales. Normally, the better wool fibres with finer scales are duller in appearance than the poorer quality fibres which have fewer scales.

Characteristics

  • Crimped in appearance
  • Elastic
  • Hygroscopic, readily absorbs moisture
  • Ignites at a higher temperature than cotton
  • Lower rate of flame spread, heat release and combustion heat
  • Resistant to static electricity

Applications

  • Clothing – jackets, suits, trousers, sweaters, hats etc.
  • Blankets, carpets, felt and upholstery
  • Horse rugs, saddle clothsSilk pillows
  • Silk

Silk is a fine, continuous strand unwound from the cocoon of a moth caterpillar known as the silkworm. It is composed of protein. It is very shiny due to the triangular prism-like structure of the silk fibre, which allows silk cloth to refract incoming light at different angles.

Characteristics

  • Lustrous, smooth and soft texture and not slippery
  • Lightweight, strong, but can lose up to 20% of its strength when wet
  • Elasticity is moderate to poor. If elongated, it remains stretched
  • Can be weakened if exposed to too much sunlight
  • May be affected by insects, especially if left dirty
  • Can regain up to 11% of its moisture

Applications

  • Shirts, ties, blouses, formal dresses, high-fashion clothes
  • Lingerie, pyjamas, robes, dress suits and sun dresses
  • Many furnishing applications
  • Upholstery, wall coverings, and wall hangings

Other Natural Fibers

Jute

Jute is taken from a tall plant of the same name and it is easy to cultivate and harvest. It is the cheapest fibre and is used in great quantities.

Characteristics

It is not durable as it deteriorates rapidly when exposed to moisture

  • Less strength
  • Cannot be bleached to make it pure white due to lack of strength

Applications

  • Binding threads for carpets, coarse and cheap fabrics, heavy bagging etc.

Kapok                                                                                           It is a white hair-like fiber obtained from the seed capsules of plants and trees called Ceiba Pentandra grown in Java and Sumatra (Indonesia), Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, Northern South America and tropical West Africa.

It is called silk cotton due to its high luster which is equal to that of silk.

Characteristics

  • Smooth texture
  • Very lustrous
  • Weak
  • Short fibre length
  • Resistant to moisture, dries quickly when wet

Applications

  • Mattresses, cushions, upholstered furniture

RamieEmbroidered fabric and alcazar cones

A woody fibre resembling flax and it is also known as rhea and China grass. It is taken from a tall flowering plant.

Characteristics

Stiff

  • More brittle
  • Lustrous
  • Applications
  • Canvas, upholstery, clothing, etc.

2. Man-made Fibres

2.1. Man-made (Regenerated)

Cellulosic

They are derived either from the cellulose of the cell walls of short cotton fibres that are called linters or, more frequently from pine wood. There are three types of man made cellulosic fibres: Rayon, acetate and tri-acetate.

Rayon

Rayon [link to Raylon] is made from naturally occurring polymers that simulate natural cellulosic fibres. It is neither a truly synthetic fibre nor a truly natural fibre.

There are two varieties of Rayon; viscose and high wet modulus (HWM). These in turn are produced in a number of types to provide certain specific properties.

Characteristics

  • Soft, smooth and comfortable
  • Naturally high in lustre
  • Highly absorbent
  • Durability and shape retention is low, especially when wet
  • Low elastic recovery
  • Normally weak, but HWM rayon is much stronger, durable and has good appearance retention.

Applications

  • Apparel – blouses, dresses, jackets, lingerie, linings, suits, neck ties etc.
  • Furnishing items – bedspreads, bed sheets, blankets, window treatments, upholstery etc.
  • Industrial uses e.g. medical surgery products, non-woven products, tyre cord etc.
  • Other uses – feminine hygiene products, diapers, towels etc.
  • Acetate

Acetate consists of a cellulose compound identified as acetylated cellulose – a cellulose salt. Hence it possesses different qualities compared to rayon.

Acetate is thermoplastic and can be formed into any shape by application of pressure combined with heat. Acetate fibres have good shape retention.

Characteristics

  • Thermoplastic
  • Good drapability
  • Soft, smooth and resilient
  • Wicks and dries quickly
  • Lustrous appearance
  • Weak, rapidly loses strength when wet, must be dry-cleaned
  • Poor abrasion resistance

Applications

  • Primarily in apparel – blouses, dresses, jackets, lingerie, linings, suits, neck ties, etc.
  • Used in fabrics such as satins, brocades, taffetas, etc.

Tri-acetate

Tri-acetate consists of acetylated cellulose that retains acetic groupings, when it is being produced as triacetate cellulose. It is a thermoplastic fibre and is more resilient than other cellulosic fibres

Characteristics

  • Thermoplastic
  • Resilient
  • Shape retentive and wrinkle resistant
  • Shrink resistant
  • Easily washable, even at higher temperatures
  • Maintains creases and pleats well

Applications

  • Primarily apparel
  • Used in clothing where crease / pleat retention is important e.g. skirts and dresses
  • Can be used with polyester to create shiny apparel

2.2. Man-made – Non-cellulosic

Polymer Fibres

This group of fibres is distinguished by being synthesised or created from various elements into larger molecules that are called linear polymers.

The molecules of each particular compound are arranged in parallel lines in the fibre. This arrangement of molecules is called molecular orientation.

The properties of such fibres are dependent on their chemical composition and kinds of molecular orientation.Outdoor Goods

Nylon

In nylon, the fibre forming substance is a long-chain synthetic polyamide in which less than 85% of the amide linkages are attached directly to two aromatic rings. The elements carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen are combined by chemical processes into compounds which react to form long-chain molecules, chemically known as polyamides and are then formed into fibres. There are several forms of nylon. Each depends upon the chemical synthesis.

They are: Nylon 4; 6; 6.6; 6.10; 6.12; 8; 10; and 11.

Characteristics

  • Highly resilient
  • High elongation and elasticity
  • Very strong and durable
  • Excellent abrasion resistance
  • Thermoplastic
  • Has the ability to be very lustrous, semi-lustrous or dull
  • Resistant to insects, fungi, mildew and rot