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Natural Fibres

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Last updated date: 16th Jul 2024
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What are Natural Fibres?

Clothes are necessary for all human beings; without clothes, it would be difficult for humans to survive in the modern world. Have you ever wondered how clothes are made and which material is used? The clothes we wear are made up of fibres. Fibres are the thread-like structure which is thin, flexible strands used for various methods like cosmetics production, cloth making, medicines, paper manufacturing etc.

Based on the origin of the fibres, they are classified into two types. The two types of fibres are natural fibres and man-made fibres. Natural fibres are the fibres obtained from animal and plant sources. Man-made fibres are manufactured by industries. Man-made fibres are also known as synthetic fibres. Natural fibres are defined as thread-like raw materials extracted directly from plants and animal sources that are converted to nonwoven fabrics than woven cloths.

Types of Natural Fibres

There are two types of natural fibres that are discussed below.

  • Plant Fibre: Plants fibres are obtained from various parts of plants like leaves, wood, fruits, flowers, stems etc.

  • Animal Fibre: Animal fibres are extracted from animals like silk, wool, etc.

Examples of Natural Fibres

The natural fibres names are given below.

  • Wood: From wood, we get softwood and hardwood

  • Stem/Bast: From stem, we get flax, jute, hemp, kenaf, and ramie

  • Leaf: From leaf, we get sisal, abaca, pineapple, banana, palm, fique, henequen

  • Seed/Fruit: From seed, we get cotton, coconut

  • Grass: From grass, we get bamboo, rice

  • Animals: From animals, we get wool, silk, angora, mohair etc.

Difference Between Natural and Synthetic Fibres

As discussed above, there are two types of fibres. They are natural fibres and synthetic fibres. The difference between both the fibres is summarised in the below table:

Natural Fibres

Synthetic Fibres

It is obtained from natural sources like plants, animals, and minerals.

It is made by man in industries with the help of chemicals.

The structure of fibres cannot be tempered or changed.

The structure of fibres can be changed.

Natural fibres do not harm the environment.

Some chemicals used in the production of fibres are harmful to the environment.

It has natural color and odour.

The colour and odour are added according to the need.

They have the ability to absorb water.

They do not absorb water.

They are very expensive and rare.

They are cheaper.

Uses of Natural Fibres

Natural fibres list along with their uses are discussed below.

Cotton: Cotton is usually grown in black soil and a ward climate with moderate rainfall. The cotton plant is the type of shrub where cotton grows around the seeds of the cotton plant. Cotton is used in various textile products.

Jute: Jute fibre is extracted from the bark of the jute plant. It is grown in loamy soil and rainy region. 80% of jute is grown in Bangladesh, and the rest is obtained from India, Nepal, China, and Thailand. Jute is used in making sacks, coarse cloth, wrapping raw cotton bales, etc.

Coir: Coir is a type of plant fibre obtained from the outer cover of coconut. To obtain coir, coconuts are kept in water for a few months. The out covering or husk is separated from the nut and beaten to obtain the fibre with the help of wooden mallets. The fibre is then spun, dyed and weaved. Coir is used to make various household products like rope for stuffing pillows and mattresses.

Silk cotton: Silk cotton is plant fibre in the silk cotton tree called kapok. The fruits contain light and fluffy fibre. When the fruit ripens, the fruits burst to give fibre. It is used in stuffing life jackets and sleeping bags.

Hemp: Hemp is another type of plant fibre obtained from the stem of the hemp plant. It is used in making ropes, nets, cloths, paper, etc.

Flax: It is a fibre which is obtained from the stem of the flax plant. Flax is woven to make linen (fabric). It is used to make high-quality paper.

Silk: Silk is a type of animal fibre obtained from the mulberry silkworm. It is used in making clothes.

Wool: Wool is a type of animal fibre obtained from horse hair, lamp wool, and goat hair. It is used in making jackets, clothes, blankets, etc.


Fibres are usually of two types: natural fibre and synthetic fibre. Both fibres are different from each other on the basis of their origin. Natural fibres are obtained naturally from plants, animals and minerals. These are pure fibres that are extracted and weaved to form cloths, bags, jackets, paper, etc. Fibres are used in various industries like textile, medicines, construction etc. Synthetic fibres are man-made fibre which is prepared according to the needs of industries. We can also learn more from journals of natural fibres.

Key Features of Natural Fibres

  • Natural fibres are naturally occurring hair-like strands obtained from plant stems, leaves, branches, fruit, and animals used for manufacturing various items like cloths, rope, blankets, paper etc.

  • Some examples of natural fibres obtained from plants are jute, cotton, flax, and coir.

  • Some examples of natural fibres obtained from animals are wool, silk, etc.

FAQs on Natural Fibres

1. Which synthetic fibre is used for making aeroplane tyres and aerospace?

Synthetic fibres are a type of fibres which are manufactured in industries. Aramid fibre is a synthetic fibre used in aerospace for making aeroplane tyres and for making military applications. They are strong synthetic fibre with high heat resistance. They are used for ballistic-rated body armour fabric and ballistic composites used in bicycle tires.

2. Name all the basic types of natural fibers according to botanical type?

Natural fibers are the type of fibers which are naturally present on earth. Botanical-type fibers are long, narrow tapering cells, their cell wall is thick and made of cellulose and lignin, and they are dead and hollow at maturity. They are found mainly in vascular tissue. On the basis of botanical type, natural fibers are classified into six types. They are bast fibers, seed fibers, leaf fibers, root fibers, grass fibers, and reed fibers.

3. Which are the most applications of natural fibre?

Natural fibres are the type of fibres that are present naturally on the earth. Cotton is the most common natural fibre as it is grown in large quantities, and due to its soft nature, it is used for various purposes like manufacturing cloths, stuffing blankets, and pillows.