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Gross and fine structure of Textile Fibers

Natural fibers have their own peculiar structures, spots, lines, and other marks that help in identifying them. Following are some examples of natural fibers and how they look like under a microscope:


The cotton fiber may be a single elongated cell. Below a magnifier, it's like flat, spirally twisted ribbon like tube with rough granular surface. However, mercerized cotton does not have natural twist. The finishing method makes them swollen, straight, sleek, and spherical with a shining surface.


Linen fiber, under a microscope, feels like having multiple sided cylindrical filaments with fine pointed edges. The filaments show nodes at intervals. It, in fact, feels like a bamboo stick having joints that results into a little unevenness.


Wool fiber has irregular, roughly cylindrical, multicellular structure with tapered ends. Below a microscope, 3 basic layers are shown- stratum(outer layer), cortex (middle layer) and medulla (inner layer). Medulla is seen solely in coarse and medium wool fibers which too below an extremely powerful microscope.


Raw silk fiber, composed of 2 filaments, has elliptical form below the microscope. The two fine and lustrous filaments are shown clearly wanting like clear rods with triangular form. Wild silk or tussah fiber has totally different look than the cultivated silk. It's two-dimensional, coarse, thick, and broader fiber having fine, wavy lines across its surface whereas cultivated silk is narrower fiber with no marks thereon.

Manmade fibers are tough to identify through microscope due to similar look of the many fibers. However, their sure distinguishable characteristics below a microscope are mentioned below.


Rayon fiber has uniform diameter with glass like shine. If delustered then rayon fiber shows marks just like pepper, once viewed cross sectionally. Viscose fiber of rayon appearance irregular once viewed cross sectionally.


Acetate fiber appearance lesser irregular than viscose rayon once viewed cross sectionally. It's indentations that appear as if occasional marks once viewed longwise.


There are several variants of nylon fiber. However, typically it seems fine, round, sleek and semitransparent. Typically, it's shiny look. If it's uninteresting, it'll even be dotted below the microscope.


If viewed longwise, aramid fiber appearance sleek and straight. If viewed cross sectionally, it's going to be spherical or like peanut's form.


Typically, polyester fiber is sleek, straight. It's spherical cross sectionally. However, with numerous finishing processes, its look changes in context of texture and luster.


Spandex fiber have the outstanding characteristic of showing like teams of fibers united along. However, {different totally different completely different} variants of spandex show different characteristics too. The Lycra fiber feels like united multifilament’s cross sectionally. Individual fibers are dotted and in form like that of dog-bone. If viewed longwise, they seem straight.


Once viewed cross sectionally, polypropylene fiber appearance somewhat spherical however it's straight and sleek once viewed longwise.


The glass fiber appearance sleek, round, semitransparent, shiny, and versatile.

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