Fibers

Article

August 14, 2022

Fiber materials are the collective name for the raw materials of the textile industry. This term refers to the external appearance of raw materials, as their length is many orders of magnitude greater than their diameter. In order to be able to weave yarns from fibrous materials, they must be technically at least 5 mm long, and economically at least 10 mm long. However, not only yarns are made from fibrous materials, the textile industry also has other processes that do not use yarns, but instead create a continuous cloth from fibrous materials without the production of yarn (such as felts and certain types of so-called non-woven fabrics). Therefore, "thread" should not be confused with the yarn made from it: the component of the yarn is the fiber, which comes from a group of fibrous materials. Fiber materials are not only used by the textile industry, but are also important raw materials for the plastics industry that produces composites, which utilizes them as reinforcing materials.

About fiber materials in general

The common feature of most fibrous materials is that they are made up of polymer chain molecules, i.e. interconnected, identical or multiple but regularly repeating groups of atoms. Such chain molecules are created in nature (good examples are cellulose, which makes up plant fibers, or keratin, the material that makes up animal hair), but they can also be created artificially, using chemical processes - these are the so-called synthetic fiber materials. However, there are also inorganic minerals that have a fibrous structure and these can also be made suitable for use in the textile industry.

Grouping principles

Group by origin

Fiber materials are basically divided into two large groups. We distinguish between: natural fiber materials, which are obtained from materials existing in nature (plants, animals, minerals), as well as artificial fiber materials, which are made either from materials existing in nature (for example, cellulose or protein) or from materials (polymers) produced artificially using chemical industry methods. A more detailed grouping is illustrated in the attached figures.

Natural fiber materials

Natural fibers are fibers that can be obtained from nature (plants, animals, certain minerals). 1. They are among the fibers of plant origin seed fibers, i.e. fibers grown on the seeds of plants (such as cotton), bast fibers found in the stems of plants (such as flax, hemp, ramie or jute), leaf fibers (as their name suggests, they are found in the leaves of plants, such as sisal, manila hemp) and fruit fibers (this kind of fiber can be obtained from the shell of the coconut). 2. There are two groups of fibrous materials of animal origin: hairs such as wool, mohair (the hair of the mohair goat), cashmere (the hair of the cashmere goat), camel or llama hair, angora (the hair of the angora rabbit), horse hair, and gland secretions; such is caterpillar silk or spider silk.3. Fiber material of mineral origin is obtained from asbestos and basalt. (Asbestos is used less and less today due to its harmfulness to health.)

Artificial fiber materials

Artificial fiber materials are factory-produced fibers with chemical processes. Within this, we distinguish two main groups: 1. Artificial fibers with natural materials Natural fibers are those made of naturally occurring polymers. Among the naturally occurring polymers, cellulose is the most important from the point of view of artificial fibrous materials. In order to make fibers from cellulose, the original material must first be modified by chemical processes to make it soluble, and then after fiber formation, vi