List of textile fibres

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Textile fibres can be created from many natural sources (animal hair or fur, insect cocoons as with silk worm cocoons), as well as semisynthetic methods that use naturally-occurring polymers, and synthetic methods that use polymer-based materials, and even minerals such as metals to make foils and wires. The textile industry requires that fibre content be provided on content labels. These labels are used to test textiles under different conditions to meet safety standards (for example, for flame-resistance), and to determine whether or not a textile is machine washable or must be dry-cleaned. Common textile fibres used in global fashion today include:[1][2][3]

Animal-based fibres (protein fibres)[edit]

Fibre Source Attribute
Byssus saltwater clam lightweight
Chiengora dog hair fluffy lightweight
Qiviut Muskoxen Softness, warmth
Yak Yak -Heavy, warmth
Rabbit Rabbits Softness
Wool Sheep Warmth
Lambswool Lambs Softness, elasticity, warmth
Cashmere wool Indian cashmere goat Softness
Mohair wool North African angora goat Warmth, holds dyes well, lightweight
Camel hair Arabian Dromedary and Northeast Asian Bactrian camels Warmth, lightweight
Alpaca / Vicuña / Guanaco / Llama wool South America camelid varieties Softness, warmth
Angora wool Angora rabbit Softness, blends well with other fibres
Silk Chinese mulberry silkworm Smooth fabric finish with high shine

Plant-based fibres (cellulosic fibres)[edit]

Fibre Source Attribute
Abacá the abaca plant thin lightweight
Coir Coconut Strength, durability
Cotton Shrub Lightweight, absorbent
Flax Herbaceous plant Lightweight, absorbent, used to make linen
Jute Vegetable plant in linden family Strength, durability
Kapok pentandra tree fluffy
Kenaf Hibiscus cannabinus rough
Raffia Raffia palm carpet/rough
Bamboo Grass pulp Lightweight, pliable fibre
Hemp Cannabis Strength, durability
Modal Beech tree Softness, lightweight
Piña Pineapple leaf soft,lightweight
Ramie Flowering plant in nettle family heavy,tough
Sisal Agave sisalana Strength, durability
Soy protein Tofu-manufacturing waste wooly,lightweight

Mineral-based fibres[edit]

Fibre Source Attribute
Asbestos Cloth asbestos Fire-resistance, light weight
Glass, Fibreglass Mixed silicates Fire-resistance, futuristic appearance in some products
Metals Gold, silver, and many other minerals Foil, fibres, wire

Synthetic fibres[edit]

Fibre Source Attribute
Rayon (Viscose) Regenerated cellulose, semisynthetic Lustrous appearance, absorbent
Acetate Cellulose, semisynthetic Lustrous appearance, pliable fabric
Polyester Polymer, polyethylene terephthalate Wrinkle-resistant, easy care
Aramid Aromatic polyamide Heat- and tear-resistant
Acrylic Acrylonitrile Imitates wools and cashmeres due to softness
Ingeo Polylactide Hydrophilic (Wicks away persperation)
Luminex Fibre optics Light-emitting
Lurex Polyamide, polyester Metallic appearance, sheen
Lyocell Cellulose Strong, soft, absorbent, biodegradeable
Nylon Polyamide Silk-like appearance
Spandex (Lycra) Polyurethane Stretches easily
Olefin Polyethylene, polypropylene Wicks away persperation (hydrophilic), lightweight (olefin fibres have the lowest specific gravity of all fibres)
PLA fibre, Polylactide Polymers, lactic acid Lightweight, wicks away perspiration (hydrophilic), UV light-resistant

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Calderin, Jay (2009). Form, Fit, Fashion. Rockport. pp. 116–7. ISBN 978-1-59253-541-5. 
  2. ^ "BBC GCSE Bitesize: Types of Fibre". BBC. Retrieved November 9, 2011. 
  3. ^ "FiberSource: The Manufactured Fiber Industry". FiberSource. Retrieved November 10, 2011.