Skip to main content

Natural and Manmade Textile Fiber Types And Their Uses



Fibers are the basic building blocks of any textile. It is the most basic component. These fibers come from different sources, which make them unique, and give them distinct properties.

Classification of Fibers

Classification of Fibers

Natural Fibers

The classification of the natural fibers is as follows:

Natural Fibers

Natural Fibers

Vegetable Fibers


Seed fibers are fibers that are derived from the seeds of various plants. Some of them are as follows:

  • Cotton
  • Kapok
  • Coconut
Fiber NameFiber DescriptionUses of the Fiber


Cotton is a natural vegetable fiber, that is cultivated from the cotton plant. There are pods on the plant from which the cotton is extracted. The cotton plant is a member of the Mallow family. The fiber is composed of cellulose.

Cotton is extensively used to make fabrics, and finds its uses in apparel. It is also used in home furnishings. It is also used in various industries such as binding, outdoor gear etc.


Kapok is derived from the seed of the Kapok plant. It is a white hairlike fiber and resembles with cotton in appearance.

Kapok is used in insulation, and for purposes of soundproofing. It is also used in mattresses, upholstery, and other furnishing products like cushions.


Coconut fiber is also called coir. It is derived from the husk of the coconut.

Coir is intensively used in ropes, mats, upholstery, brushes, to make sacks, for insulation etc.


Bast fibers are those fibers that are derived from the plant's stem. Some of the most common bast fibers used are:

  • Flax
  • Hemp
  • Jute
  • Ramie
Fiber NameFiber DescriptionUses of the Fiber


Derived from the skin of the stem of the flax plant, it is one of the strongest fiber in the category of natural cellulosic fibers. Linen yarn is made from the flax fibers. The texture of the flax fiber is soft and lustrous. It is known to absorb humidity, hence textiles made from the yarn of this fiber is very breathable.

Flax fiber is extensively used in linen fabrics which is commonly used to make breathable garments. Other areas where flax fibers are used are in upholstery, curtains, canvases for art, insulation, towels and other home furnishings.


Extracted from the bark of the white jute plant, jute fiber is golden in color and has a lustrous appearance. Jute fiber is primarily composed of cellulose and lignin.

Jute fibers are extensively used in making sacks and reusable bags. It is also used in furniture and upholstery.


As the name suggests, these fibers are derived leaves of the plant. Some of the leaf fibers are as follows:

  • Sisal
  • Manila
Fiber NameFiber DescriptionUses of the Fiber


Sisal fiber is extracted from the outer surface of the leaves of the sisal plant, through a process of decortication. The fibers extracted are antistatic in nature and the fine texture of the fiber allows easy penetration of the dyes.

Sisal is commonly used to make ropes and string which are then used to make handicrafts and carpets.

Animal Fibers


  • Wool
Fiber NameFiber DescriptionUses of the Fiber


Wool fiber extracted from sheep. It primarily composes of keratin. At the surface of the wool fibers, one can see scales and the crimps in the fiber create pockets on the fiber’s surface which gives the insulation property to the fiber.

Wool is used to make winter clothing, blankets, carpets, and upholstery.

Scroll to Continue

Fine Hair

  • Angora
  • Cashmere
Fiber NameFiber DescriptionUses of the Fiber


Angora fiber is the wool that is extracted from the Angora Rabbit.

Angora fiber is primarily used in apparel products.


Cashmere fiber is obtained from the Cashmere goats.

It is used to make apparel products like sweaters, scarves. trousers, gloves etc.


  • Cultivated
  • Tussah
Fiber NameFiber Description


Obtained from silk worms, silk fiber is the only naturally occurring filament fiber.


Tussah silk is obtained from the silk worm which feeds on oak. The fibers are brownish in appearance and they are considerably more stiff and coarser than the cultivated silk.


Rock Fibers

  • Asbestos
Fiber NameFiber DescriptionUses of the Fiber


Asbestos fiber is a non-flammable, mineral fiber.

The asbestos fiber is used in fabrics where non-flammable material is required. Asbestos is used to make fireproof products such as safety clothing for fire fighters and insulation products such as hot-water pipe.

Man-Made Fibers

The classification of the man-made fibers is as follows:

Man-made Fibers

Man-made Fibers

Natural Polymers


  • Acetate
  • Viscose
  • Modal
Fiber NameFiber DescriptionUses of the Fiber


Acetate fiber is a manufactured fiber made out of a substance called cellulose acetate.

Acetate is used in apparel and home furnishings.


Viscose fiber is a regenerated cellulosic fiber. It is a very soft and silky. The textiles made out of this fiber are also very soft and lustrous.

It is widely used in garments and non-woven fabrics like tissues & napkins.


Modal is a cellulosic fiber made primarily of wood pulp (only beech wood). It can be considered as a form of Rayon.

Modal is used in clothing.


  • Alginate
Fiber NameFiber DescriptionUses of the Fiber


Alginate fibers are obtained from seaweed. It is made from sodium alginate.

Alginate fibers are used to make wound dressing.

Synthetic Polymers


  • Elastane
  • Elastodiene
Fiber NameFiber DescriptionUses of the Fiber


Elastane fiber is made from a polymer called polyether-polyurea copolymer.

Due to its stetch properties it is used in athletic wear, leggings, underwear, socks, tights, etc.


Elastodiene fiber is generally made from polyisoprene.

It is used in hosiery, swimsuits, athletic wear, waistbands and brastraps.


  • Aramid
  • Nylon
Fiber NameFiber DescriptionUses of the Fiber


Aramid fiber is made up of linear macromolecules composed of aromatic groups joined by amide or imide linkages.

The fiber is used in flame resistant clothing, tires.


Nylon fiber is made from melting nylon and creating fibers through spinnerets.

Nylon is used to make women's stockings. It is also used in hosiery, swimwear, track pants, draperies, umbrellas, and luggage.


  • Polyester
Fiber NameFiber DescriptionUses of the Fiber


Polyester fibre is a “manufactured fibre in which the fibre forming substance is any long chain synthetic polymer composed at least 85% by weight of an ester of a dihydric alcohol (HOROH) and terephthalic acid (p–HOOC–C6H4COOH)”.

Polyester fiber is used in various items like apparel, ropes, bedsheets, jackets, bottles, upholstery, in conveyor belts, etc.


  • Polyethylene
  • Polypropylene
Fiber NameFiber DescriptionUses of the Fiber


Polyethylene fiber is formed by ethylene monomers which are joined togther in the synthesis of polyethylene polymer.

The fiber is used in medical implants, cable and marine ropes, sail cloth, fish netting and geotextiles.


Polypropylene fiber is obtained from 85% propylene.

It is primarily used in non-wovens products such as diapers and sanitary napkins. It is also used in clothing.



  • Glass
Fiber NameFiber DescriptionUses of the Fiber


Glass fiber is made from extremely fine fibers of glass. It is also known as fiberglass.

It is used in home furnishings fabric, apparel, tires and reinforced plastics.


  • Metal
Fiber NameFiber DescriptionUses of the Fiber


Metallic fiber is composed of metal or metallic alloys.

They are used in a variety of industries, from apparel to automotive.

Hope this article gives you an overview of the fibers. If there are any suggestions on what topics should I write the article on next, feel free to leave a comment down below.

© 2019 PGupta0919

Related Articles