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Natural and Synthetic FibersTextiles Natural and Synthetic Fibers
Natural Fibers Come from plants and animals General CharacteristicsHydrophilic (Absorb Water) Most wrinkle easily
Natural Fibers Cotton Flax (Linen) Wool Silk Ramie Leather
Cotton advantages Strong, durable Soft Absorbs moisture Breathes wellWashes easily
Cotton disadvantages Mildews Does not spring back into shapeWrinkles easily Burns readily Shrinks
Clothing/Fashion usesBlouses Dresses Skirts Underwear Shirts Jeans Sportswear
Care of Cotton Wash in washer and dry Iron at high temperature
Flax (Linen) AdvantagesSTRONG Absorbs moisture Comfortable in warm weather Washes easily
Linen disadvantages Mildews WRINKLES Burns easily
Clothing/Fashion usesBlouses Dresses Skirts Suits
Care of Linen Wash or Dry Clean, CHECK LABEL Iron at HIGH temperature
Wool Advantages WARM Durable ABSORBENTResilient (returns to original shape quickly) Resists wrinkling Fire Retardant
Wool Disadvantages Requires special careShrinks sometimes if washed, or dried in dryer Absorbs odors Requires protection against insects
Clothing/Fashion usesKnit garments Sweaters Gloves Skirts Coats Sportswear Socks Suits slacks
Care of Wool Dry Clean or Hand Wash and Dry flatIron at low temperature
Silk Advantages Smooth Lustrous Strong Dries quickly
Silk Disadvantages Shows water spots Iron at low temperature
Clothing/Fashion usesSkirts Blouses Dresses Neckties Scarves Lingerie Sweaters
Care of silk Dry clean or hand wash, check labelIron at low temperature
Synthetic Fibers Made from petrochemicals CharacteristicsHydrophobic (water resistant) Promote static cling Heat Sensitive Many pill Most are wrinkle resistant
Synthetic Fibers Acetate Acrylic Nylon Polyester Rayon Spandex (Lycra)Aramid (Kevlar, Nomex) Olefin Triacetate Modacrylic
Acetate Advantages Soft Drapeable Dries quickly Resistant to shrinking
Acetate DisadvantagesCan wrinkle Low abrasion resistance Heat sensitive Damaged by acetone
Clothing/Fashion usesSkirts Blouses Dresses Scarves Linings
Acrylic Advantages Soft Warm Wool-like Light weight Wrinkle resistantResistant to moths and sunlight
Acrylic DisadvantagesPills Static electricity Heat sensitive
Care of Acrylic Dry Cleaned or laundered Iron at low temperature
Clothing/Fashion usesSweaters Knit garments Faux Fur Coats Pants Skirts Shoe soles
Nylon Advantages Very Strong Resilient Lustrous Dries quickly
Nylon disadvantages May yellow or gray Heat SensitiveLow moisture absorbency
Clothing/Fashion usesSportswear Jackets Raincoats Backpacks Purses
Care of Nylon Easily laundered Iron at low temperature
Polyester advantages Excellent WRINKLE RESISTANCEResistant to abrasion Dries quickly Blends well with other fibers Retains heat-set pleats and creases
Polyester disadvantagesAbsorbs oily stains Low absorbency of moisture
Clothing/Fashion usesPants Shirts Suits Sportswear Skirts
Care of Polyester Easily laundered Needs little or no pressing
Rayon advantages Soft and comfortable High moisture absorbencydrapeable
Rayon disadvantages May wrinkle or shrink unless treated May mildew
Clothing/Fashion usesDresses Skirts Lingerie Blouses
Care of Rayon Usually dry cleaned, sometimes washableIron at low temperature
Spandex advantages Excellent elasticity and recoveryStronger and more durable than rubber Light weight Resistant to body oils
Spandex disadvantagesDamaged by chlorine bleach Damaged by heat
Clothing/Fashion usesPants Shirts Jeans Sportswear Underwear Socks Bras Tights
Aramid (Kevlar & Nomex) advantagesExceptional strength Exceptional heat and flame resistance Resistant to stretch and abrasion
Aramid disadvantages Not absorbent
Clothing/Fashion usesKevlar Bullet Proof Vests Cut/Heat and Chemical resistant Gloves Nomex Fireman Uniforms Racing Apparel
Natural and Synthetic Fibers
Textiles Natural and Synthetic Fibers Adapted from UEN.org.
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Textiles Natural and Synthetic Fibers Natural Fibers Cotton Flax (Linen) Wool Silk Ramie Leather.
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