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We all wear and enjoy different types of clothes. There are some special types of clothes which are worn on certain occasions and some are season-based clothes. For example, cotton clothes are worn during summer to keep us cool, woollen clothes are worn during winter to keep us warm and raincoats are worn to protect from rain. These different types of clothes are prepared from the fibres.

What are fibres?

Fibres can be generally defined as thread-like structures that are thin, long, and flexible. The two main sources of fibres are plants and animals.

The obtained fibres are spun into yarns and then woven into the best fabrics. A single long fibre can produce yarn for different types of fabric.

Also read: Plant Fibres

Classification of fibres

On the basis of the source of fibres, they can be classified as natural fibres and man-made fibres.

Natural fibres

The fibres obtained naturally from both plants and animals are termed as the natural fibres. These fibres are hair-like raw material directly obtainable from different plants and animals.

Natural fibres have the following characteristics:

  • They can be twisted into yarn to make a fabric.
  • They are comfortable and durable.
  • They are strong.
  • They are highly capable of absorbing moisture.
  • They provide an excellent look and feel.

The natural fibres are further classified into:

  • Plant fibre
  • Animal fibre
  • Mineral fibre

Plant Fibre: The fibres obtained from the plant sources like – cotton and jute. The materials like Bamboo, coconut fibre, Flax seeds, Cannabis sativa plant species, Vegetable fibre, straw, Nettle, Ramie, wood, grains are different sources of plant fibres.

Animal Fibres: The fibres obtained from the animal sources are wool and silk. The animal fibres consist exclusively of proteins. Sheep, camel, cashmere, mohair goats, rabbits, and yak are the animals that provide us with wool. Silk is obtained from the silkworms.

Mineral Fibres: The inorganic materials shaped into fibres are known as mineral fibres. For example – Asbestos. These fibres are resistant to fire and acid and are used for industrial applications.

Also read: Fibre to Fabric

Man-Made Fibres

These fibres are artificially synthesized by humans within the industries in which the polymers are designed to make fabrics by the application of simple chemicals.

The polymers are a macromolecule, which are obtained or composed of joining small, repeated subunits together. Rayon and Nylon are the best examples of man-made fibres. Others include Acrylic, polyester, and acetate.

Man-made fibres are further classified as:

  • Regenerated fibres
  • Synthetic fibres
  • Inorganic fibres

Regenerated Fibres: These fibres are also known as semi-synthetic fibres. The cellulose obtained from plants is purified and then the fibres are produced from it. These are made of long-chain polymers which are modified by a chemical process to enable polymerization to form fibres. For eg., viscose rayon, bamboo.

Synthetic Fibres: These fibres are formed by the polymerization of monomers. Once a polymer is formed, it is converted into a fluid form. The dissolved or molten polymer is extruded through narrow holes to give filaments. For eg., polyester, acrylic, nylon.

Inorganic Fibres: These are also known as metallic fibres. They are obtained from copper, silver, gold, and can be extruded from nickel, iron, etc.

Advantages of Natural Fibres over Synthetic Fibres

  • Natural fibres are biodegradable.
  • They have a low specific weight due to which they possess higher strength.
  • They possess good electrical resistance.
  • They are skin-friendly and cause no irritation.
  • Their production requires less energy and emits low carbon dioxide.
  • Cost-effective.
  • They possess good thermal and insulating properties.

This was a brief introduction to the fibre, its types, and sources. Stay tuned with BYJU’S Biology to learn more in detail about the fibres, and how it is obtained from plants and animals, watch various interactive YouTube videos.

Frequently Asked Questions on Fibre


Is rayon fibre natural or synthetic?

Rayon is the first man-made fibre. But the raw material for the preparation of the fibre is obtained naturally from purified cellulose.


Where are cotton plants grown?

Cotton plants are grown in regions having black soil and a warm climate.


What is ginning of cotton?

The separation of fibres from the seed by combing is called ginning. It can be done manually or by the use of machines.


What is sericulture?

The cultivation of silkworms for the production of silk is called sericulture. The silk fibre is obtained from the cocoons of Bombyx mori.


What is nylon made of?

Nylon is made of the condensation reaction of hexamethylene diamine, and adipic acid.

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