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Fibre maturity testing

Fibre maturity Introduction

Fibre maturity is an important characteristic of natural fibres.

Fibre maturity represents the degree of wall thickening of fibres.

In the case of cotton fibre, fibre consists of a cuticle, a primary layer, and secondary layers of cellulose surrounding the lumen or central canal. 

The fibres are first formed as thin tubules which initially grow only in length. When their maximum length is reached, a secondary fibre wall generates and spreads then begins to build upon the inner surface of the thin primary wall. 

This process continues until shortly before the boll of cotton opens. Once the ball opens, the fibres tend to dry and collapse to give the typical convoluted ribbon form of cotton. 

Concerning these changes, the maturity of fibres changed. I.e. - Thinner wall fibre is not considered a matured fibre.

Fiber maturity cell wall
Fibre maturity

In general, fibres are matured step by step, but in some cases, due to poor growth conditions fibres are not mature enough. Therefore when we measure the maturity of mature fibres it contains some percentage of immature fibres.

Mature fibres have a more thick secondary cell wall and the lumen is very thin.

However, Immature fibres have thinner primary walls and the secondary wall is almost invisible, therefore their physical properties are different, and they are weaker and less stiff than mature fibres. 

This can lead to a fault in articles made from cotton containing a high percentage of immature fibres. 

Breaking during processing, a tendency to form neps, a tendency to become entangled around particles of trash and leaf, all adversely affecting yarn and fabric appearance due to immaturity of fibres.

To a technologist, the presence of an excessive percentage of immature fibres in a sample is undesirable as this causes waste, losses in processing, lowering of the yarn appearance grade due to the formation of neps uneven dyeing, etc. 

Important role of fibre maturity


Fibre maturity depends on the development of the fibre cell wall and its thickness. The thickening of the cell wall is highly sensitive to growing conditions and affects maturity levels.

For instance, poor fertility of the soil, unfavourable atmosphere, plant pests, diseases of fibre plants, and many more are the reason behind the increment of the immature fibre amount and lead to trouble processing.

Maturity is necessary because it affects the quality of yarn as well as the spinning procedures.

Immature fibres basically tend to end breakage. 

One of the causes of the main trouble by the presence of these thin-walled immature fibres is napping. The mature fibres are likely to cause neps by faulty processing.

Immaturity also affects the shade after dyeing. As the response of the primary wall, certain classes of dyestuffs are less intense, the thinner the secondary wall lighter will be the shade. 

Fiber maturity growth
Fibre maturity growth

Microscopy cross-section kit

Microscopy kit for fibre testing

This is the specific kit that contains all the equipment and consumables used in making fibre and yarn cross sections by the plate and modified cork methods as per the AATCC. 

Question -
  1. Why fibre maturity test is done?
  2. What does cotton fibre consist of?
  3. Explain the convolution of cotton fibre.
  4. How cotton fibre maturity is considered?
  5. What is the importance of fibre maturity?
  6. Why it is essential to know the maturity of fibres?
  7. What is a microscopy cross-section kit?


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Elsevier. (2016). Performance testing of textiles (1st ed.). Woodhead Publishing.

Houck, M. M. (2009). Identification of Textile Fibers (M. M. Houck, Ed.; 1st ed.). Woodhead Publishing.

Textile School. (2010, October 27). Fibre Identification - tests to identify a fibre. Textile School

Trivedi, Y. (2020, April 10). Identification of Textile Fibers. Textilesphere.com

(N.d.). from

Fibre Fineness. (n.d.).  from

Uster HVI 1000 accurate fibre classification system - Uster Technologies. (n.d.).  from

Further reading -

(Part-1) Fibre maturity testing

(Part-2) Fibre Maturity measurement - Direct, caustic soda method

(Part-3) Fibre Maturity measurement - Polarised, airflow, dying methods

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