Do you know all 17 properties of textile fibers?

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    Wear fastness

    Abrasion fastness refers to the ability to resist wearing friction, which contributes to the durability of fabrics. Garments made from fibers with high breaking strength and good abrasion fastness can last for a long time and show no signs of wear after a long period of time.


    Nylon is widely used in sports jackets, such as ski jackets, football shirts. This is because its strength and abrasion fastness are exceptionally good. Acetate is often used in the lining of outerwear and jackets due to its excellent drape and low cost.


    However, due to the poor abrasion resistance of acetate, the lining tends to fray or form holes before the outer fabric of the jacket wears accordingly.


    water absorption

    Water absorption is the ability to absorb moisture, which is usually expressed by moisture regain. The water absorption of fibers refers to the percentage of moisture absorbed by dry fibers in air at standard conditions of 70°F (equivalent to 21°C) and 65% relative humidity.


    Fibers that absorb water are called hydrophilic fibers. All natural plant and animal fibers and two man-made fibers - viscose and acetate are hydrophilic fibers. Those fibers that have difficulty absorbing water or can only absorb a small amount of water are called hydrophobic fibers. With the exception of viscose, Lyocell and acetate, all man-made fibers are hydrophobic. Glass fibers don't absorb water at all, and other fibers typically have a moisture regain of 4% or less.


    The water absorption of fibers affects many aspects of their applications, including:


    Skin Comfort: Due to poor water absorption, the flow of sweat can cause a cold and wet feeling.

    Static electricity: Clothing sticking and sparking problems can occur with hydrophobic fibers because there is little moisture to help disperse charged particles that accumulate on the surface of the fibers, and dust is also drawn to the fibers and adheres to them due to static electricity.

    Dimensional stability after washing: After washing, hydrophobic fibers shrink less than hydrophilic fibers, and fibers rarely swell, which is one of the reasons for fabric shrinkage.

    Stain Release: It is easy to remove stains from hydrophilic fibers because the fibers absorb the detergent and water at the same time.

    Water repellency: Hydrophilic fibers usually require more water repellency and durable post-treatment, as this chemical treatment can make these fibers more water repellent.

    Wrinkle Recovery: Hydrophobic fibers generally have better wrinkle recovery, especially after laundering, because they do not absorb water, swell, and dry in a wrinkled state.


    chemical action

    Fibers typically come into contact with chemicals during textile processing (eg, dyeing, finishing) and home/professional care or cleaning (eg, with soap, bleach, dry cleaning solvents, etc.). The type of chemical, the intensity of action and the duration of action determine the degree of effect on the fiber. It is important to understand the effect of chemicals on different fibers as it directly relates to the care required in cleaning.


    Fibers react differently to chemicals. For example, cotton fibers are relatively low in acid resistance, while alkali resistance is very good. In addition, cotton fabrics will lose a little strength after chemical resin non-iron finishing.



    Coverage refers to the ability to fill a range. Coarse or crimped fibers provide better coverage than fine, straight fibers. The fabrics are warm, feel full and require fewer fibers to weave.


    Wool is a widely used fiber in winter clothing because its crimp provides excellent coverage to the fabric and creates a large amount of still air in the fabric, which insulates against the cold outside. The effectiveness of fiber covering depends on its cross-sectional shape, longitudinal configuration and weight.



    Elasticity refers to the ability to increase in length under tension (elongation) and return to a rocky state (recovery) after the release of an external force. Elongation when external forces act on the fibers or fabrics can make clothing more comfortable and cause less stress on the seams.


    There is also a tendency to increase the breaking strength. Complete recovery can help prevent fabric sagging at elbows or knees, thereby preventing loose deformation of the garment. Fibers that can stretch at least 100% are called elastic fibers. Spandex fiber (Spandex is also called Lycra, our country is called spandex) and rubber fiber belong to this type of fiber. After elongation, these elastic fibers can almost forcefully return to their original length.


    environmental conditions

    Environmental conditions affect fibers differently. How the fibers and the resulting fabric react to exposure, storage, etc. is very important.


    Here are some examples:


    Wool garments need to be protected from moths during storage as they are susceptible to feeding by wool moths.


    Nylon and silk lose their strength after prolonged exposure to sunlight, so they are not usually used to make curtains and doors and windows.


    Cotton fiber is prone to mold, so it cannot be stored in a humid environment for a long time.



    Flammability refers to the ability of an object to ignite or burn. This is an important feature because people's lives are always surrounded by a variety of textiles. We know that clothing or interior furniture, due to its flammability, can cause serious injury to consumers and cause significant material damage.


    Fibers are generally classified as flammable, non-flammable, and flame-retardant:


    Flammable fibers are fibers that are easily ignited and will continue to burn.


    Non-flammable fibers refer to fibers that have a relatively high burning point and a relatively slow burning speed, and will self-extinguish after evacuating the burning source.


    Flame retardant fibers are fibers that will not burn.


    Flammable fibers can be made into flame-retardant fibers by finishing or changing fiber parameters. For example, regular polyester is flammable, but Trevira polyester is treated to be flame-retardant.



    Softness refers to the ability of fibers to bend repeatedly without breaking. Soft fibers such as acetate can support fabrics and garments with good drape. Rigid fibers such as glass fibers cannot be used to make clothing, but can be used in decorative fabrics that need to be relatively stiff. Generally, the finer the fibers, the better the drapability. Softness also affects the feel of the fabric.


    While good drape is often required, stiffer fabrics are sometimes required. For example, on garments with capes (clothes that hang over the shoulders and turn out), use a stiffer fabric to achieve the desired shape.



    Hand is the feeling when you touch fibers, yarns or fabrics. The fiber's hand feels the influence of its shape, surface features and structure. The shape of the fibers is different, and can be round, flat, multi-lobal and so on. Fiber surfaces also vary, such as smooth, jagged or scaly.


    The shape of the fibers is either curly or straight. Yarn type, fabric structure and finishing process can also affect the feel of the fabric. Terms such as soft, smooth, dry, silky, stiff, rough or rough are often used to describe the hand of a fabric.



    Gloss refers to the reflection of light on the surface of the fiber. Different properties of fibers affect their gloss. A glossy surface, less curvature, a flat cross-sectional shape, and a longer fiber length enhance light reflection. The drawing process in fiber manufacturing increases its luster by making its surface smoother. Adding a matting agent will destroy the reflection of light and reduce the gloss. In this way, the amount of added matting agent can be controlled, and optical fibers, matting fibers and non-optical fibers can be manufactured.


    Fabric gloss is also affected by yarn type, weave and all finishes. Gloss requirements will depend on fashion trends and customer needs.


    Pilling refers to the entanglement of some short and broken fibers on the surface of the fabric into small balls. Poms form when the ends of fibers break from the surface of the fabric, usually caused by wearing. Pilling is undesirable because it makes fabrics such as bed sheets old, unsightly, and uncomfortable. Poms are created in areas that are frequently rubbed, such as collars, under-sleeves, and cuff edges.


    Hydrophobic fibers are more prone to pilling than hydrophilic fibers because hydrophobic fibers are more likely to attract static electricity to each other and are less likely to fall off the surface of the fabric. Pompoms are rarely seen on 100% cotton shirts, but are quite common on similar shirts in polyester-cotton blends that have been worn for a while. While wool is hydrophilic, pom-poms are created because of its scaly surface. The fibers twist and twist around each other, forming a pom-pom. The strong fibers easily hold the pom-poms on the fabric surface. Easy-to-break low-strength fibers that do not pill easily because the pom-poms fall easily.



    Resilience refers to the ability of a material to elastically recover after being folded, twisted, or twisted. It is closely related to wrinkle recovery ability. Fabrics with better resilience are less prone to wrinkling and, therefore, tend to maintain their good shape.


    Thicker fiber has better resilience because it has more mass to absorb strain. At the same time, the shape of the fiber also affects the resilience of the fiber. Round fibers have better resilience than flat fibers.


    The nature of the fiber is also a factor. Polyester fibers have excellent resilience, but cotton fibers have poor resilience. It's no surprise then that these two fibers are often mixed in products such as men's shirts, women's baggy tops and bed sheets.


    Well-rebounded fibers can be a bit of a hassle when it comes to creating noticeable folds in the garment. Creases are easy to form on cotton or denim fabrics, but not so easy on dry wool fabrics. Wool fibres resist bending and wrinkling, and eventually straighten.


    Relative density

    Relative density refers to the ratio of fiber mass to the mass of water at 4°C in an equal volume. Lightweight fibers keep the fabric warm without being bulky, potentially creating a thick, voluminous fabric but still maintaining a low weight. Acrylonitrile fibers are the best example, which are much lighter than wool but have similar properties to wool, making them widely used in fabrics for lightweight yet warm blankets, scarves, thick socks and other winter items.


    Static electricity

    Static electricity is the electrical charge produced by the friction of two dissimilar materials against each other. When electrical charge is generated and builds up on the fabric surface, it will be the garment that clings to the wearer or the lint that sticks to the fabric. When the surface of the fabric comes into contact with the foreign body, an electric spark or electric shock is produced, which is a rapid discharge process. When the static electricity on the fiber surface is generated at the same speed of electrostatic transfer, the static electricity phenomenon can be eliminated.


    The moisture contained in the fibers acts as a conductor to remove electrical charges and prevents the aforementioned electrostatic effects. Hydrophobic fibers, because they contain very little water, have a tendency to generate static electricity. Static electricity is also created in natural fibers, but only when very dry does it become hydrophobic. Glass fibers are the exception to hydrophobic fibers, because of their chemical composition, static charges cannot be generated on their surfaces.


    Fabrics containing Ebitrobic fibers (fibers that conduct electricity) have no static to worry about, and the carbon or metal they contain allows the fibers to transfer accumulated static charges. Because there is often a problem with static electricity on carpets, nylons such as Monsanto Ultron are used on carpets. Trobic fiber eliminates electric shock, fabric fit and dust pickup. Because of the danger of static electricity in special working environments, it is very important to use low-static fibers to make subways in areas near hospitals, computers, and work areas near flammable and explosive liquids or gases.



    Strength is the ability of a fiber to resist stress. Fiber strength is the force required to break a fiber, expressed in grams per denier or centinewtons per tex (a legal unit of measurement).



    The ability of fiber to heat resistance is an important factor affecting its application performance. Often, this is also an important factor to consider in fiber processing, since fibers are subjected to heat during many fabric forming processes, such as dyeing, ironing, and heat setting. In addition to this, heating is often employed to care and update clothing and interior furniture.


    Some thermal effects are only temporary and noticeable during the course of action. For example, in dyeing, the properties of the fibers can change during heating, but return to normal after cooling. But some thermal effects can be permanent, as the fibers themselves degrade due to molecular rearrangement after heat. Heat setting, on the other hand, changes the molecular arrangement, making the fabric more stable (minimal shrinkage) and more wrinkle-resistant, but without appreciable degradation. However, prolonged exposure to elevated temperatures may cause degradation such as loss of strength, fiber shrinkage and discoloration. Many consumers have experienced severe degradation of fabrics and even damage to garments caused by ironing at excessively high temperatures.


    When heated, thermoplastic fibers become soft and melt into a liquid state at higher temperatures. Many man-made fibers are thermoplastic. By applying heat to a fabric containing thermoplastic fibers to form creases and folds without melting the fibers, long-lasting creases and folds can be made when the temperature is lowered. Thermoplastic fibers can be molded into shape when heated (softened), and the molded shape is retained when cooled (when ironing garments made from rayon, care must be taken to avoid softening or melting. When softening or melting, The fabric will start to stick to the iron) and the creases will be permanent unless a higher temperature removes the original heat set effect. The shape of the garment can also be formed by this method, and the thermoplastic fabric has good dimensional stability.



    Wicking refers to the ability of fibers to transfer moisture from one place to another. Normally, moisture is transported along the surface of the fibers, but liquids can also pass through the fibers when absorbed by the fibers. The wicking tendency of fibers often depends on the chemical and physical composition of the outer surface. A smooth surface reduces the effect of wicking.


    Certain fibers, such as cotton fibers, are hydrophilic and also possess good wicking properties. Other fibers, such as olefins, are hydrophobic fibers, but have good wicking properties when the denier is small (ie, very fine fibers). This property is especially important for apparel such as training and running apparel. Sweat excreted by the human body is transferred to the outer surface of the garment along the fiber surface by wicking, and evaporates into the air, thereby bringing better comfort.

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