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Microscopic appearance of Fibers

Technical tests require skilled personnel who can handle and use the equipment and chemicals for the analysis of the textile fibers. Among microscopic tests and chemical tests, microscopic tests are mainly used for natural fiber. The test identifies the natural fibers more easily as compared to manmade 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.

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Technical tests require skilled personnel who can handle and use the equipment and chemicals for the analysis of the textile fibers. Among microscopic tests and chemical tests, microscopic tests are mainly used for natural fiber. The test identifies the natural fibers more easily as compared to manmade 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.

Microscopic Appearance of textile fibers

Microscopic test

The 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 a large lumen with few convolutions
  • Dead very thin and almost transparent
  • Mercerized smooth and cylindrical, fewer 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 sectionSharp polygonal shape with straight sides. Immature oval shape with a large lumen
Hemp Smooth and cylindrical with a cross marking nodes, no lengthwise striations, broad lumen Partly polygonal
Jute Cylindrical with uneven in diameter, a lumen is broad and varies greatly Rounded polygonal with a central lumen
Ramie Irregular and broad with cross marks irregular distributed, a conclusion may appear Oblong

Natural Fibres: Animal Fibres

Wool Wool longitudinalCylindrical, irregular, rough surface, scale-like structure, dark medulla may appear on coarse wool fibers Wool cross sectionalNearly round or circular, medulla may appear
Silk Silk longitudinalSmooth surface, Structureless, triangular shaped transparent rod(Wild silk/Tussah silk – broader fiber with fine, longitudinal lines passing across filament) Silk Cross sectionallTriangular 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 a serrated outline
  • Oval or round
Cellulose acetate fibers Acetate longitudinalUniform in width with a few distinct longitudinal striations Irregular with a serrated outline
Acrylic Acrylic longitudinalSmooth surface, uniform diameter, rod-like appearance, some types with irregularly spaced striations Acrylic cross sectionRounded or Dumbbell shaped
Polyester Polyester longitudinalStructureless, uniform diameter, rod-like appearance Polyester cross sectionCircular
Nylon Structureless, uniform diameter, rod-like appearance Circular