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Moisture effect on the textile fibers and Shirley moisture meter

Moisture effect on the textile fibres

Moisture effects on fibre 

Textile fibres are mostly affected by atmospheric conditions. Especially Natural fibres are affected by moisture content in the atmosphere due to their hygroscopic nature.

Due to their Hygroscopic nature fibres tend to absorb water vapour whenever the atmosphere is moister. 

Moisture effect on textile natural fibers
Moisture effect on textile fibres

Same as Fiber tends to give up or release water vapour whenever the atmosphere is dry as compared to fibre conditions.

However, as with other moisture transfer processes, After sufficient time fibre tufts and atmosphere have reached an equilibrium state.

But until this state is reached, some properties like weight, mass, mechanical and electrical properties are already changed and this change creates strong effects on fibbers' price and properties.

Variations in weight and mass cause commercial imbalance while other properties affect the testing report and further process to yarn and fabric.



Dimensional Properties


Dimension of fibres affects mass and weight of fibres

Whenever fibres absorb moisture, swelling happens.

Due to swelling in fibres cross-section and length of fibres are extended and as a result, total volume increases.

Increased volume cause increased mass because the total weight/mass of fibres is the sum of the mass of dry fibres and the mass of water/vapour of water.

Swelling is mainly caused by fibre width because most of the intermolecular space is with the length rather than at its ends.

This swelling changes the fibres' dimension and increases the mass and weight of materials.

In the case of moisture absorbency of natural fibres, Nylon is exceptional.


Mechanical Properties


The mechanical properties of fibres are effects by changes in moisture.

Whenever fibres absorb moisture, strength will slightly increase.

Electrical Properties


The electrical properties of fibres are slightly affected by changes in moisture.

Whenever fibres absorb moisture, electrical properties vary, these changes will not affect too much fibre properties.

However, these changes are very useful in the measurement of fibre properties in testing.

Shirley moisture meter

  • Shirley moisture meter measures moisture regain from fibres with the properties of electrical resistance of textile materials.
  • The electrical resistance of textile materials varies with their moisture regain.

Shirley moisture meter for measure moisture in textile fibers
Shirley moisture meter

  • Initially, the instrument was designed to measure the moisture of Raw cotton and yarn. Concerning development, its use was extended to other textile materials, and tables were prepared to give corrected values. 
  • In Shirley, the moisture meter has two electrodes that consist central conductor. This central conductor is insulated from an outer circular sheath. 
  • When testing takes place, Sheth is inserted into materials, when pressed into the cotton the fibre bridges the insulation, and resistance is measured. 
  • For fibres, the specific electrode is used and the gap between electrodes is less.
  • The indicating unit translates the resistance value into regaining values On one of two dials.
  • One dial covers the normal range from 7-11 per cent and the other For Damp 9-15 and Dry from the 5-9 percent range. 


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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

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