A Repository of Textile Articles

Properties essential to make a Fiber

Each fiber has particular properties which help us to decide which particular fiber should be used to suit a particular requirement. Certain fiber properties increase its value and desirability in its intended end-use but are not necessary properties essential to make a fiber.

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Fiber Properties for specific requirements

The utility of fibers are broadly categorized into 2 different uses- one is Apparel or Domestic use and the other is Industrial use. In order to be used in each of these each of these categories, the fiber has to meet some specific requirements. They are:

Apparel/Domestic Requirements

  • Tenacity: 3 – 5-gram denier
  • Elongation at break: 10 – 35%
  • Recovery from elongation: 100% at strains up to 5%
  • Modulus of elasticity: 30 – 60-gram denier
  • Moisture absorbency: 2 – 5%
  • Zero strength temperature (excessive creep and softening point):
    above 215°C
  • High abrasion resistance (varies with type fabric structure)
  • Dye-able
  • Low flammability
  • Insoluble with low swelling in water, in moderately strong acids
    and bases and conventional organic solvents at room temperature
    to 100°c
  • Ease of care

Industrial Requirements

  • Tenacity: 7 – 8 grad denier
  • Elongation at break: 8 – 15%
  • Modulus of elasticity: 80 grad denier or more conditioned, 50 grad denier wet
  • Zero strength temperature: 250° C or above

Basic Textile Fiber Properties

Raw Wool Michigan Fiber Festival
Raw Wool Michigan Fiber Festival, by Steven Depolo

There are several primary properties necessary for a polymeric material to make an adequate fiber. Certain other fiber properties increase its value and desirability in its intended end-use but are not necessary properties essential to make a fiber. Such secondary properties include moisture absorption characteristics, fiber resiliency, abrasion resistance, density, luster, chemical resistance, thermal characteristics, and flammability.

Some Primary Properties of Textile Fibers are:

  • Fiber length to width ratio,
  • Fiber uniformity,
  • Fiber strength and flexibility,
  • Fiber extensibility and elasticity, and
  • Fiber cohesiveness.

How heat affects Textile Fiber’s properties

Examples of Fiber Shapes

Examples of Fiber Shapes

Heat helps the fiber /fabric to gain certain special qualities at certain times and are also harmful at other times. But under special guidance, heat helps fiber acquire the following characteristics

  • Softening, melting, or decomposition temperatures
  • The tendency of the fiber and fabric to shrink when heat-relaxed, or stretch when heated and under tension
  • The ability of the fabric to heat set
  • The ability of the fabric to function properly at elevated temperatures at one time or repeated use
  • The ability of the fabric to function properly at room temperature (or some other lower temperature) after exposure at high temperature for a given period of time

Thermal Properties of Common Fibers

FiberMelting PointSoftening Sticking PointSafe Ironing Temperature
°F°C°F°C°F°C
Natural Fibers
CottonNonmelting425218
FlaxNonmelting450232
SilkNonmelting300149
WoolNonmelting300149
Manmade Fibers
Acetate446230364184350177
Arnel Triacetate575302482250464240
Acrylic400-490204-254300-350149-176
AramidDoes not melt, carbonizes above 800F
Glass1400-3033
Modacrylic410210300149200-25093-121
NovoloidNonmelting
Nylon6414212340171300149
Nylon66482250445229350177
Olefin27513526012715066
Polyester PET480249460238325163
Polyester PCDT550311490254350177
RayonNonmelting375191
Saran350177300149Do not iron
Spandex446230347175300149
Vinyon28514020093Do not iron

Density and Moisture Regain of Fibers

FiberDensity (g/cc)Moisture Regain
Density: Ratio of weight of a given volume of fiber to an equal volume of water.
Natural Fibers
Cotton1.527-11
Flax1.5212
Silk1.2511
Wool1.3213-18
Man-made Fibers
Acetate1.326.0
Arnel Triacrylic3.2
Acrylic1.17-1.181.3-2.5
Aramid1.38-1.444.5
Fluorocarbon2.200
Glass2.49-2.730-0.3
Modacrylic1.30-1.370.4-4.0
Nylon1.144.0-4.5
Nylon Qiana1.032.5
Olefin0.910.01-0.1
Polyester1.22/1.380.4-0.8
Rayon1.50-1.5215
Rayon HWM11.5-13
Spandex1.20-1.220.75-1.3

The chemical composition of some common fibers

Type of fiberCelluloseLigninPentosanAsh
Seed flax43-4721-2324-265
Kenaf (Bast)44-5715-1922-232-5
Jute (Bast)45-6321-2618-210.5-2
Hemp57-779-1314-170.8
Ramie87-915-8
Kenaf (Core)37-4915-2118-240.8
Jute (Core)41-4821-2418-22
Abaca56-637-915-171-3
Sisal43-627-921-240.6-1
Cotton85-960.7-1.61-30.8-2

The diameter of Natural and Meltblown Fibers

MaterialDiameter Mean Value (microns)Coeff Variation(%)
Spider silk3.5714.8
B. mori Silk12.9024.8
Merino Wool25.5025.6
Polyester13.302.4
Nylon 6 Filament16.203.1
Kevlar 2913.806.1

Effects of Acids on Common Fibers – Comparison

FiberEffects of Acids
AcrylicResistant to most acids
ModacrylicResistant to most acids
PolyesterResistant to most mineral acids disintegrated by 96% sulphuric
RayonDisintegrates in hot dilute and cold concentrated acids
AcetateSoluble in acetic acid, decomposed by strong acids
TriacetateSimilar to acetate
Nylon 66Decomposed by strong mineral acids, resistant to weak acids
OlefinVery resistant
GlassResists most acids. Etched by hydrofluoric acid and hot phosphoric acid
CottonSimilar to rayon
WoolDestroyed by hot sulfuric, otherwise unaffected by acids

Effects of Alkalies on Common Fibers – Comparison

FiberEffects of Alkalies
AcrylicDestroyed by strong alkalies at a boil, resists weak alkalies
ModacrylicResistant to alkalies
PolyesterResistant to cold alkalies, slowly decomposed at a boil by strong alkalies
RayonNo effect by cold, weak alkalies, swells and loses strength in concentrated alkalies
AcetateSaponified, little effect from cold weak alkalies
TriacetateNot effected up to pH 9.8,205′ F; better than acetate
Nylon 66Little or no effect
OlefinVery resistant
GlassAttacked by hot weak alkalies and concentrated alkalies
CottonSwells when treated with caustic soda but is not damaged
WoolAttacked by weak alkalies, destroyed by strong alkalies

Effects of Organic Solvents on Common Fibers – Comparison

FiberEffects of Organic Solvents
AcrylicUnaffected
ModacrylicSoluble in warm acetone, otherwise unaffected
PolyesterSoluble in some phenolic compounds, otherwise unaffected
RayonUnaffected
AcetateSoluble in acetone, dissolved or swollen by many others
TriacetateSoluble in acetone, chloroform and swollen by others
Nylon 66Generally unaffected, soluble in some phenolic compounds
OlefinSoluble in chlorinated hydrocarbons above 160′
GlassUnaffected
CottonResistant
WoolGenerally resistant

Effects of Sunlight on Common Fibers – Comparison

FiberEffects of Sunlight
AcrylicLittle or no effect
ModacrylicHighly resistant, some loss of strength and discoloration after constant exposure
PolyesterSome loss of strength, no discoloration, very resistant
behind glass
RayonGenerally resistant loses strength after long exposure
AcetateApproximately same as rayon
TriacetateResistant loses strength after long exposure
Nylon 66No discoloration, strength loss after long exposure
OlefinVery resistant retains 95% strength after 6 months exposure
GlassNone
CottonStrength loss on long exposure
WoolStrength loss, dyeing is affected
1 Comment
  1. Liton Ahmed says

    Thanks for share such a great article about fiber

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