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Fibre facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

A fibre, which can also be spelled fiber is a piece of material which is long, thin and flexible, like a length of thread. Plant fibres are the basis of fabric such as cotton. Silk and wool fibres come from animals. In the 20th century many artificial fibres were invented like nylon and polyester.

They are very important in the structure of plants and animals, because they hold tissues together.

There are many uses for fibres. They can be spun together into filaments, thread, string or rope. They can be woven in fabric or in composite materials

Natural fibre

Natural fibers include those made by plants, animals, and geological processes. They can be classified according to where they came from:

Man-made fiber

Man-made are fibers that are changed by man. Man-made fibers consist of regenerated fibers and synthetic fibers.

Semi-synthetic fiber

Semi-synthetic fibers are made from raw materials with natural long-chain polymer structures. They are only changed and partially degraded by chemical processes. The first semi-synthetic fiber is rayon. Most semi-synthetic fibers are cellulose regenerated fibers.

Cellulose regenerated fibers

Cellulose fibers are a type of man-made fibers, regenerated from natural cellulose. The cellulose comes from many sources: rayon comes from tree wood fiber, bamboo fiber comes from bamboo, seacell comes from seaweed, etc.

Some examples of this type of fiber are:

  • Rayon
  • Bamboo fiber
  • Lyocell, a brand of rayon
  • Modal
  • Diacetate fiber
  • Triacetate fiber

Synthetic fiber

Synthetic fibers come from synthetic materials such as petrochemicals.

Metallic fibers

Metallic fibers can be gotten from ductile metals such as copper, gold or silver and extruded or deposited from more brittle ones, such as nickel, aluminum or iron.

Carbon fiber

Carbon fibers are fibers that are mostly made up of carbon atoms. Carbon fibers are often based on oxidizing carbonized polymers through pyrolysis like PAN.

Silicon carbide fiber

In silicon carbide fibers the basic polymers are not hydrocarbons but polymers. About 50% of the carbon atoms are replaced by silicon atoms.


Fiberglass are also man-made fibers that come from natural raw materials. It is made from a specific type glass, and optical fiber, which is made from purified natural quartz.

Polymer fibers

  • Polymer fibers are a type of man-made fibers, which are based on synthetic chemicals. These fibers are made from:
    • Polyamide nylon
    • PET or PBT polyester
    • Phenol-formaldehyde (PF)
    • Polyvinyl chloride fiber (PVC) vinyon
    • Polyolefins (PP and PE) olefin fiber
    • Acrylic polyesters
    • Aromatic polyamids (aramids)
    • Polyethylene (PE), eventually with extremely long chains / HMPE
    • Elastomers can even be used
    • Polyurethane fiber
    • Elastolefin

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See also

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