Fiber, also spelled fibre, is a class of materials that are continuous filaments or are in discrete elongated pieces, similar to lengths of thread.
They are very important in the biology of both plants and animals, for holding tissues together.
Human uses for fibers are diverse. They can be spun into filaments, string or rope, used as a component of composite materials, or matted into sheets to make products such as paper or felt. Fibers are often used in the manufacture of other materials. The strongest engineering materials are generally made as fibers, for example carbon fiber and Ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene.
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 man-made counterparts.
A unit in which many complicated textile structures are built up is said to be textile fiber.
Textile Fiber is the raw material required for the textile industry.
Natural fibers include those produced by plants, animals, and geological processes. They are biodegradable over time. They can be classified according to their origin:
- Vegetable fibers are generally based on arrangements of cellulose, often with lignin: examples include cotton, hemp, jute, flax, ramie, and sisal. Plant fibers are employed in the manufacture of paper and textile (cloth), and dietary fiber is an important component of human nutrition.
- Wood fiber, distinguished from vegetable fiber, is from tree sources. Forms include groundwood, thermomechanical pulp (TMP) and bleached or unbleached kraft or sulfite pulps. Kraft and sulfite, also called sulphite, refer to the type of pulping process used to remove the lignin bonding the original wood structure, thus freeing the fibers for use in paper and engineered wood products such as fiberboard.
- Animal fibers consist largely of particular proteins. Instances are spider silk, sinew, catgut, wool and hair such as cashmere, mohair and angora, fur such as sheepskin, rabbit, mink, fox, beaver, etc.
- Mineral fibers comprise asbestos. Asbestos is the only naturally occurring long mineral fiber. Short, fiber-like minerals include wollastonite, attapulgite and halloysite.
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