Fibers and their properties

Fibers and their properties

What are the fibers and their properties

Fiber properties and behavior are directly related to fabric performance and care. Learning about fibers and their characteristics will help you to understand fabrics better. Fibers are natural or chemical structures that can be spun into yarns. Yarns then can be weaved, knitted, or bonded into fabrics.

Four major natural fibers and 23 man-made fibers are available. Natural fibers come from plants and animals. The plant fibers, cotton and linen are made of cellulose. Animal fibers, silk and wool, are made of protein.

Two classes of man-made fibers are those adapted from cellulose (cellulosic) and those made entirely of chemicals (noncellulosic). Noncellulosic man-made fibers often are called synthetics.

Each fiber is identified by a generic name. The Textile Fiber Products Identification Act that officially established the generic fiber classifications became effective in 1960. All fibers (natural or man-made), yarns, fabrics, and household textile articles (includes articles of wearing apparel, draperies, floorcoverings, furnishings, beddings, and other textiles customarily used in a household), are covered by this Act.

Generic names are assigned by the Federal Trade Commission and are used to classify fibers according to their organic composition. The generic or official name is the key word you need to know and understand.

The Identification Act also stipulates that the product must be labeled. The label must name the manufacturer, the country where processed or manufactured, and the generic names and percentages of all fibers in the product in amounts of five percent or more listed in order of predominance by weight. Fibers present to the extent of less than five percent may be listed as “other fiber” or “other fibers.”

Some fabrics are made from a blend of two or more fibers. The fiber making up at least 50 percent of the blend will most influence fabric characteristics.

In addition to generic names, there are hundreds of trade names or trademarks. A trade name or trademark is the word or symbol used by fiber producers to distinguish their products from the products of other manufacturers.

The trademark is registered with the U.S. Patent Office, and the fiber manufacturer who produced that fiber is the only one allowed to use the registered name. For examples, polyester is the fiber or generic name, and Dacron is a company trademark for polyester; acrylic is the fiber or generic name, and Orlon is a company trademark for acrylic.

A basic understanding of fibers, in terms of their characteristics, uses, and care requirements will help you make wise choices when purchasing textile and clothing products commented Salomón Juan Marcos Villarreal president of Grupo Denim.