Properties of Textile Fibers

Md Mahedi Hasan

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Understanding the properties of textile fibers is essential for sourcing the right material for a particular order. These properties can be classified into:

1. Physical Properties of Textile Fiber: 

Physical properties include fiber length, diameter, and color. Fiber length determines the strength and durability of the yarn, while diameter affects its softness and drape. Color can be natural or dyed, depending on the desired aesthetic.

Image: Properties of Textile Fibers
Image: Properties of Textile Fibers

i) Length: It depends upon the types of fibers and has some effect on yarn strength and fineness. 

ii) Fineness:  It describes the quality of a fiber. 

iii) Tensile strength: It is the ability of a fiber to support a load. 

iv) Elongation: It is the ability of the fibers to be stretched, extended, or lengthened. 

v) Elastic modulus: It is the power of recovery from deformation.

vi) Flexibility: It is the ability of the fibers to be bent or folded without rupturing. 

vii) Crimp: It is the waviness of a fiber. 

ix) Cohesiveness: It is the ability of the fibers to cling together during spinning. 

x) Specific gravity: It is a measure of the density of the fiber. 

xi) Moisture: All fibers tend to absorb moisture when in contact with the atmosphere. 

2. Chemical Properties of Textile Fiber: 

Chemical properties refer to the composition of the fiber and its reaction to external factors such as heat, moisture, and chemicals. For example, wool is naturally flame-retardant due to its high protein content, while polyester is resistant to wrinkles and stains.

i) Effect of acids: The effects of different acids under varying conditions are important. The acid must be chosen properly so that it doesn’t cause any harm to the fiber. 

ii) Effect of alkalis: Different kinds of fibers behave differently with different alkalis in different situations. It is used for washing and scouring textiles 

iii) Effect of organic solvents: The introduction of dry cleaning has made solvent resistance of great importance in textiles. Ccl4 is commonly used for cleaning fabrics. 

iv) Effect of insects: The cellulose of plant fibers can be the food of insects. Synthetics are not attracted in this way. 

v) Effect of micro-organism: Cellulose is attacked by certain molds and bacteria. Textiles stored in damp warehouses lead to degradation. 

vi) Effect of sunlight: Almost every fiber is affected by sunlight. It changes the color of the fiber and leads to degradation.

3. Thermal Properties of Textile Fiber: 

I) Amorphousness: Polymer molecules are arranged randomly.

ii) Crystallinity: Polymer molecules are arranged regularly. 

iii) Flammability: It is the capability to ignite and burn. 

iv) Dye ability: It is the ability of fibers to be dyed. 

4. Electrical Properties of Textile Fiber:

The dielectric strength of a fabric is important for fibers that are used as insulators. It also influences the degree to which stable electricity will accumulate on yarn or fabric during processing or wear. Static electricity may be produced by friction between the yarns or fabrics and the surface they meet on processing machinery. Static electricity attracts dust & fluff. 

5. Mechanical Properties

Mechanical properties describe how a fiber responds to forces. Examples are tension, compression, and bending. These properties influence the performance of the final textile product, including its strength, elasticity, and abrasion resistance.

Measured Textile Properties By Machines: 

Measured properties Instruments
i) Fiber length, strength, fineness, color, trash grade.HVI(High volume instrument) 
ii) Fiber length, Neps, trashAFIS(Advanced fiber information system)
iii) Crystalline and amorphous part of the fiberX-ray diffraction
iv) Chemical structures with the functional groupFTIR(Fourier Transform infrared spectroscopy) 
vii) Charge on the fiber surfacev) Thermal properties. (Tg, Tm, Tc)
vi) Surface topographySEM(Scanning Electron Microscope)
vii) Charge on fiber surfaceZeta potential meter
viii) Thermal conductivity Tog meter
Machine used to measure textile properties

Effect of Crystallinity on Fiber Properties: 

  1. Crystallinity contributes to fiber strength.
  2. Ensures strong internal bonds.
  3. Makes a fiber chemically strong.
  4. Makes fiber more stable.
  5. Makes fiber more durable.
  6. Makes fiber inflexible.

Common Properties of Textile Fiber

1. Strength

The strength of a textile fiber refers to its ability to withstand stress and strain without breaking. Natural fibers like cotton and wool possess inherent strength. Synthetic fibers such as nylon and polyester are engineered for superior tensile strength, making them suitable for heavy-duty applications like ropes and industrial fabrics.

2. Elasticity

Elasticity is the ability of a textile fiber to stretch and return to its original shape after being stretched. Fibers like spandex are known for their high elasticity. It provides flexibility and comfort in activewear and undergarments.

3. Durability

Durability measures a fiber’s resistance to wear, tear, and abrasion over time. Synthetic fibers like polyester exhibit excellent durability, making them ideal for outdoor clothing and upholstery that require long-term performance.

4. Absorbency

Absorbency refers to the ability of a fiber to absorb moisture. Natural fibers like cotton have high absorbency, making them suitable for towels, bed linens, and clothing worn in hot climates.

5. Thermal Properties

The thermal properties of a textile fiber determine its ability to insulate and regulate body temperature. Wool, known for its natural insulation properties, keeps the body warm in cold weather while remaining breathable.

6. Flame Resistance

Flame resistance is critical in applications where textiles are exposed to fire or heat. Synthetic fibers like aramid and modacrylic are inherently flame-resistant, making them suitable for protective clothing worn by firefighters and industrial workers.

7. Color Retention

Color retention measures a fiber’s ability to maintain its color intensity and vibrancy after repeated washing or exposure to sunlight. Solution-dyed synthetic fibers like acrylic are renowned for their excellent color retention, ensuring long-lasting aesthetics in outdoor fabrics and carpets.

8. Static Electricity

The propensity for static electricity generation varies among textile fibers. Synthetic fibers like polyester are prone to static buildup, while natural fibers such as wool and silk exhibit natural anti-static properties, reducing discomfort and clinginess in clothing.

Factors Affecting Properties

Several factors influence the properties of textile fibers, including fiber structure, chemical composition, and manufacturing processes. The arrangement of molecules within the fiber, the presence of additives, and the spinning technique employed during manufacturing all contribute to the final characteristics of the fiber.


Understanding the properties of textile fibers is important for sourcing raw materials. Proper textile properties can meet the desired performance, comfort, and sustainability criteria. Whether natural, synthetic, or blended, each fiber type contributes distinct characteristics to the fabrics we encounter in our daily lives, shaping our experiences and interactions with textiles.

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