Microscopic Appearance of textile fibres

Microscopic test

Microscopic test is a technical test that involves identifying the fabric with the help of a microscope with a magnification of minimum 100 power. The test can easily distinguish between fibers. The test identifies the natural fibers more easily as compared to man made ones. Synthetic fibers are very similar in appearance and the increase in the number of varieties, makes it a little tough to distinguish the fibers even under a microscope.

Fibre Longitudinal View Cross Sectional View

Natural Fibres: Vegetable Fibres

Cotton Cotton longitudinal
  • Mature flat and ribbon like with convolutions, thick wall and small lumen
  • Immature very thin wall and large lumen with few convolutions
  • Dead very thin and almost transparent
  • Mercidized smooth and cylindrical, less convolutions and lumen or sometimes may be absent
Cotton Cross sectionl
  • Kidney Shaped
  • Elliptical
  • Very thin like a strip
  • Nearly round or circular
Linen Lenin longitudinal

Smooth and Bamboo like with cross marking nodes, no lengthwise striations, narrow lumen

Cotton Cross section

Sharp polygonal shape with straight sides. Immature oval shape with large lumen


Smooth and cylindrical with cross marking nodes, no lengthwise striations, broad lumen

Partky polygonal


Cylindrical with uneven in diameter, lumen is broad and varies greatly

Rounded polygonal with central lumen


Irregular and broad with cross marks irregular distributed, conclusion may appear


Natural Fibres: Animal Fibres

Wool Wool longitudinal

Cylindrical , irregular, rough surface, scale like structure, dark medulla may appear on coarse wool fibres

Wool cross sectional

Nearly round or circular, medulla amy appear

Silk Silk longitudinal

Smooth surface, Structure less, triangular shaped transparent rod(Wild silk/Tussah silk - broader fibre with fine, longitudinal lines passing across filament)

Silk Cross sectionall

Triangular shape with rounded corners(Tussah silk flat wedge or spindle shaped

Man-made Fibres

Viscose rayon Rayon longitudinal
  • Normal type fairly dense longitudinal striations or fine lines
  • Special type-may be smooth and Structure less
Rayon cross sectionall
  • Irregular with serrated outline
  • Oval or round
Cellulose acetate fibres Acetate longitudinal

Uniform in width with a few distinct longitudinal striations

Irregular with serrated outline

Acrylic Acrylic longitudinal

Smooth surface, uniform diameter, rod like appearance , some types with irregularly spaced striations

Acrylic cross section

Rounded or Dumbbell shaped

Polyester Polyester longitudinal

Structure less, uniform diameter, rod like appearance

Polyester cross section



Structure less, uniform diameter, rod like appearance