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Textile fibre's desirable properties

Desirable properties of textile fibres

There are an enormous amount of fibres available but among them, few are applicable as textile fibre. That represents that the fibres need to have some specific characteristics and properties within the range of certain parameters to be considered as textile fibre. These properties and characteristics are discussed below.

Desirable properties 

1. Durability 

2. Fineness 

3. Resilience

4. Lustre 

5. Dyeability 

6. Moisture regain

7. Elastic recovery and elongation

8. Flammability and other thermal stability 

9. Commercial availability

Textile fibers desirable properties
Textile fibre's desirable properties


The fibres used in textiles are designed to endure the processing treatments they need to endure during the production of the final products and not be susceptible to physical or environmental conditions, biological agents or chemicals and, that can cause the fibres to decompose and damage their structure. So, fibres should be

  • Resistance to physical or environmental conditions:

A finished textile is often in contact with the natural elements of the environment such as sunlight, UV rays, and rainfall, during its normal use. 

Aside from these, the wind in different seasons could contain different elements that would cause damage to the textiles. Similarly, textile fibres for use in each season need to be compatible with the elements of the environment and must resist the different types of weather conditions with minimal damage. 

The durability of clothing for average wear and tear is more inherently linked to the elasticity, flexibility, and strength of both the fibre and the fabric than their absolute strength. 

In textiles, these three properties will permit the garment to absorb and resist stresses more readily, and also allow the fabric to be deformed with less resistance, which will reduce the chances of intermediate twisting or tearing. One of the reasons wool garments are durable is their elasticity, resilience, and flexibility. However, wool is a weak fibre. 

As with cotton, which has little elasticity and resilience, nylon and polyester fibres seem to last forever, strength coupled with reasonable flexibility can also provide durability, which can be seen in the durability of nylon and polyester textiles. For textile fibre to be useful, it must be resistant to the chemicals it comes in contact with within its environment during its use and maintenance. 

In addition, it should be resistant to oxygen and other gases in the air, specifically when exposed to light, and to attack by microorganisms and other biological agents. Many fibres exhibit light-induced reactions, and natural fibres are vulnerable to biological attack. Such deficiencies, however, can be minimized with the use of appropriate finishes. During the laundering and dry cleaning process, textile fibres are exposed to an array of chemical agents, so they require resistance from such attacks.

  • Resistance to biological agents:

Natural fibres are extremely vulnerable to the destructive effects of biological agents. Therefore, fibres must be able to withstand the destructive effects of biological agents before qualifying as textile fibres.

  • Resistance to chemicals:

It is common for textile fibres, yarns, and fabrics to be processed with a wide variety of chemicals, including bleaches, detergents, alkalis, acids, dyes and finishing agents and other chemicals. As a result, fibres are expected to respond to these chemicals without undergoing any adverse effects, both during the manufacturing process and during use.


Textile fibres can be classified according to their fineness by size, diameter, linear density, weight or composition. There is also a wide range of finenesses between man-made fibres and natural fibres. There are several reasons for this because man-made fibres can be manufactured with great precision, including controlling their diameters and densities.

Compared to natural fibres, such as wool or silk, nylon has a diameter variation of only 5 to 6%, while man-made fibres, including polyester and nylon, have a variation of 17 to 30%; cotton fibre's fineness is measured in micrograms per inch or per centimetre; wool fibre's fineness in micrometres; man-made fibre's fineness in Denier or Tex;

1 μg = 10 - 6 g; 

1 μm = (10 - 4 cm) = 0.0001 cm 

 1 Denier = wt in gm of 9000 m;  

1 Tex = wt in gm of 1000 m.

In fibre characteristics, fineness refers to the cross-sectional thickness of the fibre, A fine fibre is suitable for spinning fine yarns, and as yarn density declines, the number of fibres in the cross-section also decreases by yarn diameter. If there is a presence or absence of a single fibre,  longitudinal unevenness and variability in diameter are seen. 

By reducing fibre diameter, more fibres will be present in a cross-section of a yarn, which will contribute to better yarn evenness. Fibre fineness also influences fibre properties, particularly fabric evenness, by using fine fibres, fewer twists and stiffer yarns are required. 

As a result of a decrease in fibre diameter, there is a greater increase in fibre surface, which contributes to a better cohesion of fibres that enables them to create the same strength with less twist than coarser fibres. These characteristics affect the hand feel of products made using them as well.


Fibres must be able to absorb shock, return to shape after deformation, and be resistant to wear forces in different temperature and humidity conditions in consumer use. 

Using compression, bending, and twisting (torsion) forces to place fibres in fabrics under stress is an important feature of fabrics. When the fibres within the fabric possess good elastic recovery properties from such deformative 30 actions, the fibre will have greater resiliency and a better overall appearance in an end application. 

Cotton and wool, as examples, exhibit poor wrinkle recovery under moist heat, whereas polyester exhibits good wrinkle recovery due to its high resiliency. Damage resistance of fibre results when mobile forces or stresses come into contact with fibre structures called abrasion resistance. 

If the fibre can absorb and dissipate forces effectively, it will show good abrasion resistance. It is the chemical and physical properties of the fibre as well as its morphology and composition that will determine its toughness and hardness and therefore, the abrasion resistance of the fibre. 

A rigid, brittle fibre such as glass, which cannot disperse abrasion forces, is likely to damage or break, while a tougher and more plastic fibre such as polyester resists abrasion better. 

Finishes can also affect fibre properties, also resiliency and abrasion resistance can be affected. There is a tendency for fibres to resist deformation when various types of forces are applied to them. 

Properties such as resistance to tensile forces, compression, flexing, and torsion can vary from fibre to fibre. Some fibres will naturally return to their original state upon removal of one of the above forces. 

In cases where the recovery from creasing is critical, wool fibres excel as a result of their natural characteristics, but cellulosic fibres need to be modified to improve these properties. It has been proven that fibre resilience results from its molecular cohesion. 

Woollen carpets have highly desirable properties like springiness or mass resiliency, a quality which is responsible for fabrics that hold their shape, drape beautifully, and do not wrinkle.

Cotton fibers
Cotton fibres


The level of lustre is determined by the amount of light reflected from the surface of the fibre or by the level of gloss or sheen it possesses, The inherent chemical and physical properties of the fibre can play a role in these characteristics. 

Fibres of natural fibre have a distinct lustre based on the morphological form that nature gives the fibre; however, a fibre's lustre can be influenced through chemical processes and physical processes, such as those found in cotton mercerization, while man-made fibres can display a range of lustres from bright to dull depending on the amount of delustrant incorporated into the fibres. 

It is the ability of a fibre's reflectivity of incident light that gives it its lustre, titanium dioxide tends to scatter and absorb light, making it appear dull. 

The desirable degree of lustre for a particular fibre application depends significantly on the intended use of the fibre in a fabric or garment and on current fashion trends. As the name implies, gloss is the ability of a fibre to reflect light when it is incident on it. 

It describes the amount of light reflected by a fibre when light rays strike it, determining a fibre's natural brightness or dullness. 

Unlike silk, which has a high lustre, other natural fibres, like cotton, are a low lustre in comparison to silk fibre. However, man-made fibres can be manufactured with controllable lustres, so they can be produced in bright, semi-dull and dull colours.

Questions -

  1. Which properties are desirable for any fibre to be a good textile fibre?
  2. Describe the dyeability of the textile fibres.
  3. Describe the moisture regain of the textile fibres.
  4. Describe the elastic recovery and elongation of the textile fibres.
  5. Describe the flammability of the textile fibres.


Essential and desirable Properties of Textile Fibres. (2017, September 2). Online Textile Academy.

Rony, J. (2022, January 24). Primary and secondary properties of textile fibres. Fashion2Apparel.

Sayed, A. (n.d.). General properties of textile fibre. from

Sinclair, R. (2015). Understanding textile fibres and their properties. In Rose Sinclair (Ed.), Textiles and Fashion (pp. 3–27). Elsevier.

Textile fibres and their characteristics. (n.d.). from

What are the primary properties of textile fibers? – YnFx. (n.d.). from

Further, read,

Part 1 Textile fibre's desirable properties

Part 2 Other desirable properties of textile fibres

Writer - Manjeet Kamble (Textile Engineer)
(Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute Matunga)

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