All protein fibers are composed of amino acids that have been formed into polypeptide chains having larger molecular weights. The number and arrangement of alpha-amino-acid residues vary among the fibers, and there is considerable difference between hair and secretion fibers. Fibers in this group have excellent absorbance. Their standard moisture regain is high, and tend to be warmer than most other fibers. Animal life is the source of natural protein fibers.
The number and arrangement of alpha-amino- acid residues vary among the fibers, and there is considerable difference between hair and secretion fibers.
Fibers in this group have excellent absorbency. Their standard moisture regain is high, and tend to be warmer than most other fibers. Animal life is the source of natural protein fibers.
Wool was probably the first animal fiber to be made into cloth. The art of spinning wool into yarn developed about 4000 B.C. and encouraged trade among the nations in the region of the Mediterranean Sea.
- It is a protein fiber with 18 amino acids.
- Wool fiber has extremely high absorbency and high moisture regain, it has soft hand high thermal insulation (low thermal conductivity) and low flammability, its elastic recovery is excellent.
The wool fiber’s cross section may be nearly circular, but most wool fibers tend to be slightly elliptical or oval in shape. Wool fibers have a natural crimp, a built-in waviness. The crimp increases the elasticity and elongation properties of the fiber and also aids in yarn manufacturing. It is three-dimensional in character, in other words, it not only moves above and below a central axis but also moves to the right and left of the axis.
Silk is supposed to have been discovered in 2640 B.C. by a Chinese princess. It is a continuous strand of two filaments cemented together, forming the cocoon of the silkworm.
The silkworm forms silk by forcing two fine streams of a thick liquid out of tiny openings in its head. On contact with air, the fine streams of liquid harden into filaments. The worm winds the silk around itself forming a complete covering (cocoon) as a protection while it changes from a worm to a moth as much as (1000~1500meters)1,600 yards of fiber are used to make the cocoon.
- It is a protein fiber with 15 amino acids.
- It has no cross linkages and no bulky side chains. The molecular chains are packed closely to form high molecular orientation, which contributes to its higher strength.
- Silk’s elasticity is due to some amorphous areas between the crystalline areas.
- Silk is the only natural filament fiber, triangular in cross section with rounded corners
Specialty hair fibers
Specialty hair fibers are rare animal fibers which possess special qualities of hand, fineness, or luster. They are usually stronger, finer, and more expensive than most wool fibers, but lower in abrasion resistance. Their end uses include coats (except alpaca and mohair), suits, dresses and knitwear.
- Alpaca: comes from the alpaca of South America. It is durable, silky, and very lustrous.
- Camel hair: comes from the two hump camels of Mongolia, Tibet and other areas of Asia. It is a weak fiber with a wool-like texture. Its scales are not as defined as wool so it will not felt rapidly.
- Cashmere: comes from an Asian goat of the same name. It is extremely fine and has outstanding softness.
- Llama: comes from the llama of South America. It is weaker than camel hair and alpaca, but still fairly strong.
- Mohair: comes from the Angora goat, mainly found in Turkey, Union of South Africa and southwest United States. It is the strongest of the specialty animal fibers, with very good abrasion resistance. It is the most resilient natural textile fiber. It possesses little crimp and its scales are flat, resulting in a slippery, smooth hand and high luster. The fiber is able to be dyed bright colors.
- Vicuna: comes from the vicuna of South America. It is the finest and softest of all wool and specialty fibers, but also weak. Its very fine scales result in a smooth hand and high luster. The fiber is lightweight. Vicuna fiber is also the rarest and most costly of the specialty fibers since attempts to domesticate vicuna animals have not been very successful. Usually the animal must be hunted and killed to obtain its hair. The cost of a vicuna coat is more like a fur coat than a cloth one.
Some hair fiber information
Suits, sweaters, gloves, linings.
Summer suits, topcoats.
Sweaters, fleeces, topcoats. (Very rare.)
Himalayan Mtns. Tibet, Cashmere
Asia, Africa, China, Russia
Oriental rugs, sweaters, gloves, blankets, coats,
Felt, knitted garments.
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