Microscopic appearance of Fibers

Technical tests require skilled personnel who can handle and use the equipment and chemicals for the analysis of the textile fibres. Among microscopic tests and chemical tests, microscopic tests are mainly used for natural fibre. The test identifies the natural fibres more easily as compared to manmade ones. Synthetic fibres are very similar in appearance and the increase in the number of varieties makes it a little tough to distinguish the fibres even under a microscope.

Microscopic Appearance of textile fibres

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 fibres. The test identifies the natural fibres more easily as compared to man-made ones. Synthetic fibres are very similar in appearance and the increase in the number of varieties makes it a little tough to distinguish the fibres even under a microscope.

Natural Fibres: Vegetable Fibres

  1. Cotton

    Longitudinal View

    • 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

    Cross-Sectional View

    • Kidney Shaped
    • Elliptical
    • Very thin like a strip
    • Nearly round or circular
  2. Linen

    Longitudinal View

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

    Cross-Sectional View

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

  3. Hemp

    Longitudinal View

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

    Cross-Sectional View

    Partly polygonal

  4. Jute

    Longitudinal View

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

    Cross-Sectional View

    Rounded polygonal with a central lumen

  5. Ramie

    Longitudinal View

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

    Cross-Sectional View

    Oblong

Natural Fibres: Animal Fibres

  1. Wool

    Longitudinal View

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

    Cross-Sectional View

    Nearly round or circular, medulla may appear

  2. Silk

    Longitudinal View

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

    Cross-Sectional View

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

Man-made Fibres

  1. Viscose Rayon

    Longitudinal View

    • Normal type fairly dense longitudinal striations or fine lines
    • Special type-may be smooth and Structure less

    Cross-Sectional View

    • Irregular with a serrated outline
    • Oval or round
  2. Cellulose Acetate fibres

    Longitudinal View

    Uniform in width with a few distinct longitudinal striations

    Cross-Sectional View

    Irregular with a serrated outline

  3. Acrylic

    Longitudinal View

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

    Cross-Sectional View

    Rounded or Dumbbell shaped

  4. Polyester

    Longitudinal View

    Structureless, uniform diameter, rod-like appearance

    Cross-Sectional View

    Circular

  5. Nylon

    Longitudinal View

    Structureless, uniform diameter, rod-like appearance

    Cross-Sectional View

    Circular

assortedfibermicroscopic appearance
Comments (2)
Add Comment
  • Chris Garvey

    I was told that Rayon and Linen are similar under a microscope. Are they?
    How similar are they in texture & feel? In absorption? In coolness in hot weather? In durability?

  • Jan Derry

    please correct the many misspellings