Fiber

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A bundle of optical fibers Fibreoptic.jpg
A bundle of optical fibers

Fiber or fibre (from Latin: fibra [1] ) is a natural or artificial substance that is significantly longer than it is wide. [2] Fibers are often used in the manufacture of other materials. The strongest engineering materials often incorporate fibers, for example carbon fiber and ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene.

Contents

Synthetic fibers can often be produced very cheaply and in large amounts compared to natural fibers, but for clothing natural fibers can give some benefits, such as comfort, over their synthetic counterparts.

Natural fibers

Natural fibers develop or occur in the fiber shape, and include those produced by plants, animals, and geological processes. [2] They can be classified according to their origin:

Artificial fibers

Artificial or chemical fibers are fibers whose chemical composition, structure, and properties are significantly modified during the manufacturing process. In fashion, a fiber is a long and thin strand or thread of material that can be knit or woven into a fabric. [4] Artificial fibers consist of regenerated fibers and synthetic fibers.

Semi-synthetic fibers

Semi-synthetic fibers are made from raw materials with naturally long-chain polymer structure and are only modified and partially degraded by chemical processes, in contrast to completely synthetic fibers such as nylon (polyamide) or dacron (polyester), which the chemist synthesizes from low-molecular weight compounds by polymerization (chain-building) reactions. The earliest semi-synthetic fiber is the cellulose regenerated fiber, rayon. [5] Most semi-synthetic fibers are cellulose regenerated fibers.

Cellulose regenerated fibers

Cellulose fibers are a subset of artificial fibers, regenerated from natural cellulose. The cellulose comes from various sources: rayon from tree wood fiber, bamboo fiber from bamboo, seacell from seaweed, etc. In the production of these fibers, the cellulose is reduced to a fairly pure form as a viscous mass and formed into fibers by extrusion through spinnerets. Therefore, the manufacturing process leaves few characteristics distinctive of the natural source material in the finished products.

Some examples of this fiber type are:

Historically, cellulose diacetate and -triacetate were classified under the term rayon, but are now considered distinct materials.

Synthetic fibers

Synthetic come entirely from synthetic materials such as petrochemicals, unlike those artificial fibers derived from such natural substances as cellulose or protein. [6]

Fiber classification in reinforced plastics falls into two classes: (i) short fibers, also known as discontinuous fibers, with a general aspect ratio (defined as the ratio of fiber length to diameter) between 20 and 60, and (ii) long fibers, also known as continuous fibers, the general aspect ratio is between 200 and 500. [7]

Metallic fibers

Metallic fibers can be drawn 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 often based on oxidized and via pyrolysis carbonized polymers like PAN, but the end product is almost pure carbon.

Silicon carbide fiber

Silicon carbide fibers, where the basic polymers are not hydrocarbons but polymers, where about 50% of the carbon atoms are replaced by silicon atoms, so-called poly-carbo-silanes. The pyrolysis yields an amorphous silicon carbide, including mostly other elements like oxygen, titanium, or aluminium, but with mechanical properties very similar to those of carbon fibers.

Fiberglass

Fiberglass, made from specific glass, and optical fiber, made from purified natural quartz, are also artificial fibers that come from natural raw materials, silica fiber, made from sodium silicate (water glass) and basalt fiber made from melted basalt.

Mineral fibers

Mineral fibers can be particularly strong because they are formed with a low number of surface defects, asbestos is a common one. [8]

Polymer fibers

  • Polymer fibers are a subset of artificial fibers, which are based on synthetic chemicals (often from petrochemical sources) rather than arising from natural materials by a purely physical process. 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, pure polyester PAN fibers are used to make carbon fiber by roasting them in a low oxygen environment. Traditional acrylic fiber is used more often as a synthetic replacement for wool. Carbon fibers and PF fibers are noted as two resin-based fibers that are not thermoplastic, most others can be melted.
    • aromatic polyamids (aramids) such as Twaron, Kevlar and Nomex thermally degrade at high temperatures and do not melt. These fibers have strong bonding between polymer chains
    • polyethylene (PE), eventually with extremely long chains / HMPE (e.g. Dyneema or Spectra).
    • Elastomers can even be used, e.g. spandex although urethane fibers are starting to replace spandex technology.
    • polyurethane fiber
    • Elastolefin
  • Coextruded fibers have two distinct polymers forming the fiber, usually as a core-sheath or side by side. Coated fibers exist such as nickel-coated to provide static elimination, silver-coated to provide anti-bacterial properties and aluminum-coated to provide RF deflection for radar chaff. Radar chaff is actually a spool of continuous glass tow that has been aluminum coated. An aircraft-mounted high speed cutter chops it up as it spews from a moving aircraft to confuse radar signals.

Microfibers

Invented in Japan in the early 1980s, microfibers are also known as microdenier fibers. Acrylic, nylon, polyester, lyocell and rayon can be produced as microfibers. In 1986, Hoechst A.G. of Germany produced microfiber in Europe. This fiber made it way into the United States in 1990 by DuPont. [9]

Microfibers in textiles refer to sub-denier fiber (such as polyester drawn to 0.5 denier). Denier and Dtex are two measurements of fiber yield based on weight and length. If the fiber density is known, you also have a fiber diameter, otherwise it is simpler to measure diameters in micrometers. Microfibers in technical fibers refer to ultra-fine fibers (glass or meltblown thermoplastics) often used in filtration. Newer fiber designs include extruding fiber that splits into multiple finer fibers. Most synthetic fibers are round in cross-section, but special designs can be hollow, oval, star-shaped or trilobal. The latter design provides more optically reflective properties. Synthetic textile fibers are often crimped to provide bulk in a woven, non woven or knitted structure. Fiber surfaces can also be dull or bright. Dull surfaces reflect more light while bright tends to transmit light and make the fiber more transparent.

Very short and/or irregular fibers have been called fibrils. Natural cellulose, such as cotton or bleached kraft, show smaller fibrils jutting out and away from the main fiber structure. [10]

Typical properties of selected fibers

Fibers can be divided into natural and artificial (synthetic) substance, their properties can affect their performance in many applications. Synthetic fiber materials are increasingly replacing other conventional materials like glass and wood in a number of applications. [11] This is because artificial fibers can be engineered chemically, physically, and mechanically to suit particular technical engineering. [12] In choosing a fiber type, a manufacturer would balance their properties with the technical requirements of the applications. Various fibers are available to select for manufacturing. Here are typical properties of the sample natural fibers as compared to the properties of artificial fibers.

Table 1. Typical Properties of Selected Natural Fibers [13] [14]
Fiber typeFiber Diameter

(in)

Specific GravityTensile Strength

(Ksi)

Elastic Modulus

(Ksi)

Elongation at Break

(%)

Water Absorption

(%)

Wood Fiber

(Kraft Pulp)

0.001-0.0031.551-2901500-5800N/A50-75
MusambaN/AN/A121309.7N/A
Coconut 0.004-0.0161.12-1.1517.4-292750-377010-25130-180
Sisal 0.008-0.016 [15] 1.45 [15] 40-82.41880-37703-560-70
Sugar Cane Bagasse 0.008-0.0161.2-1.326.7-422175-27501.1 [16] 70-75
Bamboo 0.002-0.0161.550.8-72.54780-5800N/A40-45
Jute 0.004-0.0081.02-1.0436.3-50.83770-46401.5-1.928.64 [17]
Elephant grass 0.003-0.016 [18] 0.818 [18] 25.87103.6N/Ab
a  Adapted from ACI 544. IR-96 P58, reference [12] P240 and [13]

b  N/A means properties not readily available or not applicable


Table 2. Properties of Selected Artificial Fibers
Fiber typeFiber Diameter

(0.001 in)

Specific GravityTensile Strength (Ksi)Elasticity Modulus  

(Ksi)

Elongation at Break

(%)

Water Absorption

(%)

Melting Point

(℃)

Maximum Working

Temp (℃)

Steel 4-407.870-38030,0000.5-3.5nil1370 [19] 760 [19]
Glass 0.3-0.82.5220-58010,400-11,6002-4N/A13001000
Carbon 0.3-0.350.90260-38033,400-55,1000.5-1.5nil3652-3697 [20] N/A
Nylon 0.91.1414075020-302.8-5.0220-265199
Acrylics 0.2-0.71.14-1.1839-1452,500-2,80020-401.0-2.5Decomp180
Aramid 0.4-0.51.38-1.45300-4509,000-17,0002-121.2-4.3Decomp450
Polyester 0.4-3.01.3840-1702,5008-300.4260170
Polypropylene 0.8-8.00.965-100500-75010-20nil165100
Polyethylene

   Low

   High

1.0-40.0

0.92

0.95

11-17

50-71

725

25-50

20-30

nil

nil

110

135

55

65

a  Adapted from ACI 544. IR-96 P40, reference [12] P240, [11] P209 and [13]

b  N/A means properties not readily available or not applicable

The tables above just show typical properties of fibers, in fact there are more properties which could be referred as follows (from a to z): [14]

Arc Resistance, Biodegradable, Coefficient of Linear Thermal Expansion, Continuous Service Temperature, Density of Plastics, Ductile / Brittle Transition Temperature, Elongation at Break, Elongation at Yield, Fire Resistance, Flexibility, Gamma Radiation Resistance, Gloss, Glass Transition Temperature, Hardness, Heat Deflection Temperature, Shrinkage, Stiffness, Ultimate tensile strength, Thermal Insulation, Toughness, Transparency, UV Light Resistance, Volume Resistivity, Water absorption, Young's Modulus

See also

Related Research Articles

Spinning is a twisting technique to form yarn from fibers. The fiber intended is drawn out, twisted, and wound onto a bobbin. A few popular fibers that are spun into yarn other than cotton, which is the most popular, are viscose, and synthetic polyester. Originally done by hand using a spindle whorl, starting in the 500s AD the spinning wheel became the predominant spinning tool across Asia and Europe. The spinning jenny and spinning mule, invented in the late 1700s, made mechanical spinning far more efficient than spinning by hand, and especially made cotton manufacturing one of the most important industries of the Industrial Revolution.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Textile</span> Various fiber-based materials

Textile is an umbrella term that includes various fiber-based materials, including fibers, yarns, filaments, threads, different fabric types, etc. At first, the word "textiles" only referred to woven fabrics. However, weaving is not the only manufacturing method, and many other methods were later developed to form textile structures based on their intended use. Knitting and non-woven are other popular types of fabric manufacturing. In the contemporary world, textiles satisfy the material needs for versatile applications, from simple daily clothing to bulletproof jackets, spacesuits, and doctor's gowns.

Glass fiber Material consisting of numerous extremely fine fibers of glass

Glass fiber is a material consisting of numerous extremely fine fibers of glass.

Composite material Material made from a combination of three or more unlike substances

A composite material is a material which is produced from two or more constituent materials. These constituent materials have notably dissimilar chemical or physical properties and are merged to create a material with properties unlike the individual elements. Within the finished structure, the individual elements remain separate and distinct, distinguishing composites from mixtures and solid solutions.

Carbon fibers Material fibers about 5–10 μm in diameter composed of carbon

Carbon fibers or carbon fibres are fibers about 5 to 10 micrometers (0.00020–0.00039 in) in diameter and composed mostly of carbon atoms. Carbon fibers have several advantages: high stiffness, high tensile strength, high strength to weight ratio, high chemical resistance, high-temperature tolerance, and low thermal expansion. These properties have made carbon fiber very popular in aerospace, civil engineering, military, motorsports, and other competition sports. However, they are relatively expensive compared to similar fibers, such as glass fiber, basalt fibers, or plastic fibers.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rayon</span> Cellulose-based semi-synthetic fiber

Rayon is a semi-synthetic fiber, made from natural sources of regenerated cellulose, such as wood and related agricultural products. It has the same molecular structure as cellulose. It is also called viscose. Many types and grades of viscose fibers and films exist. Some imitate the feel and texture of natural fibers such as silk, wool, cotton, and linen. The types that resemble silk are often called artificial silk.

Fiberglass or fibreglass is a common type of fiber-reinforced plastic using glass fiber. The fibers may be randomly arranged, flattened into a sheet called a chopped strand mat, or woven into glass cloth. The plastic matrix may be a thermoset polymer matrix—most often based on thermosetting polymers such as epoxy, polyester resin, or vinyl ester resin—or a thermoplastic.

Synthetic fibers or synthetic fibres are fibers made by humans through chemical synthesis, as opposed to natural fibers that are directly derived from living organisms, such as plants or fur from animals. They are the result of extensive research by scientists to replicate naturally occurring animal and plant fibers. In general, synthetic fibers are created by extruding fiber-forming materials through spinnerets, forming a fiber. These are called synthetic or artificial fibers. The word polymer comes from a Greek prefix "poly" which means "many" and suffix "mer" which means "single units"..

Microfiber Synthetic fiber

Microfiber is synthetic fiber finer than one denier or decitex/thread, having a diameter of less than ten micrometers. A strand of silk is about one denier and about a fifth of the diameter of a human hair.

Polymer chemistry is a sub-discipline of chemistry that focuses on the chemical synthesis, structure, and chemical and physical properties of polymers and macromolecules. The principles and methods used within polymer chemistry are also applicable through a wide range of other chemistry sub-disciplines like organic chemistry, analytical chemistry, and physical chemistry. Many materials have polymeric structures, from fully inorganic metals and ceramics to DNA and other biological molecules, however, polymer chemistry is typically referred to in the context of synthetic, organic compositions. Synthetic polymers are ubiquitous in commercial materials and products in everyday use, commonly referred to as plastics, and rubbers, and are major components of composite materials. Polymer chemistry can also be included in the broader fields of polymer science or even nanotechnology, both of which can be described as encompassing polymer physics and polymer engineering.

Fibre-reinforced plastic is a composite material made of a polymer matrix reinforced with fibres. The fibres are usually glass, carbon, aramid, or basalt. Rarely, other fibres such as paper, wood, or asbestos have been used. The polymer is usually an epoxy, vinyl ester, or polyester thermosetting plastic, though phenol formaldehyde resins are still in use.

Bathrobe Loose, informal garment worn after bathing or at home

A bathrobe, also known as a housecoat or a dressing gown, is a loose-fitting outer garment worn by people, often after washing the body or around a pool. A bathrobe is considered to be very informal clothing, and is not worn with everyday clothes.

A binder or binding agent is any material or substance that holds or draws other materials together to form a cohesive whole mechanically, chemically, by adhesion or cohesion.

Natural fiber Fibers obtained from natural sources such as plants, animals or minerals without any synthesizing

Natural fibers or natural fibres are fibers that are produced by geological processes, or from the bodies of plants or animals. They can be used as a component of composite materials, where the orientation of fibers impacts the properties. Natural fibers can also be matted into sheets to make paper or felt.

Polyester Category of polymers, in which the monomers are joined together by ester links.

Polyester is a category of polymers that contain the ester functional group in every repeat unit of their main chain. As a specific material, it most commonly refers to a type called polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Polyesters include naturally occurring chemicals, such as in plants and insects, as well as synthetics such as polybutyrate. Natural polyesters and a few synthetic ones are biodegradable, but most synthetic polyesters are not. Synthetic polyesters are used extensively in clothing.

Biocomposite

A biocomposite is a composite material formed by a matrix (resin) and a reinforcement of natural fibers. Environmental concern and cost of synthetic fibres have led the foundation of using natural fibre as reinforcement in polymeric composites. The matrix phase is formed by polymers derived from renewable and nonrenewable resources. The matrix is important to protect the fibers from environmental degradation and mechanical damage, to hold the fibers together and to transfer the loads on it. In addition, biofibers are the principal components of biocomposites, which are derived from biological origins, for example fibers from crops, recycled wood, waste paper, crop processing byproducts or regenerated cellulose fiber (viscose/rayon). The interest in biocomposites is rapidly growing in terms of industrial applications and fundamental research, due to its great benefits. Biocomposites can be used alone, or as a complement to standard materials, such as carbon fiber. Advocates of biocomposites state that use of these materials improve health and safety in their production, are lighter in weight, have a visual appeal similar to that of wood, and are environmentally superior.

Bamboo textile Textile made from various parts of the bamboo plant

Bamboo textile is any cloth, yarn or clothing made from bamboo fibres. While historically used only for structural elements, such as bustles and the ribs of corsets, in recent years different technologies have been developed that allow bamboo fibre to be used for a wide range of textile and fashion applications.

Finishing (textiles) Manufacturing process

In textile manufacturing, finishing refers to the processes that convert the woven or knitted cloth into a usable material and more specifically to any process performed after dyeing the yarn or fabric to improve the look, performance, or "hand" (feel) of the finish textile or clothing. The precise meaning depends on context.

Solid State of matter

Solid is one of the four fundamental states of matter. The molecules in a solid are closely packed together and contain the least amount of kinetic energy. A solid is characterized by structural rigidity and resistance to a force applied to the surface. Unlike a liquid, a solid object does not flow to take on the shape of its container, nor does it expand to fill the entire available volume like a gas. The atoms in a solid are bound to each other, either in a regular geometric lattice, or irregularly. Solids cannot be compressed with little pressure whereas gases can be compressed with little pressure because the molecules in a gas are loosely packed.

Cellulose fibers are fibers made with ethers or esters of cellulose, which can be obtained from the bark, wood or leaves of plants, or from other plant-based material. In addition to cellulose, the fibers may also contain hemicellulose and lignin, with different percentages of these components altering the mechanical properties of the fibers.

References

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