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Synthetic Fibres And Natural Fibres

Synthetic Fibres and Natural Fibres: Fibre, Classification, Natural Fibre, Synthetic Fibre, Applications, Differences, Practice Problems, FAQs

Have you ironed your uniforms or clothes?

Well, if you have done this activity, then, you might have noticed that the iron box has a knob to control the heating it produces.

Every electric iron nowadays comes up with this feature of different heating levels for different types of clothes. Do you know why?

Well, clothes are made up of long strands of fibres of different natures. It may be natural fibres such as cotton or wool or synthetic fibre like rayon or nylon. Different classes of fibres have different properties such as durability and strength to external heat and force. Hence, you need different levels of heat to iron different types of clothes.

Let’s understand more about fibres, their classifications and applications.

Table of Content


Long strands of various substances come together to form a structure resembling a thread in fibres. Examples of both natural and artificial fibres include silk, jute, and cotton. Fibres were created when people realised they needed to cover and protect their skin from the elements. There are numerous types of fibres. In this concept page, let's examine the differences between natural and synthetic fibres.

To envelop and safeguard our bodies, we use clothes made up of fibres. Some fibres could be stretched beyond 500% of their original length and then restored to their original state. Compared to rubber, it is more strong and more long-lasting. Natural and synthetic fibres are the two types of fibres that are separated based on their origin.

Classification of Fibres

Two categories serve as the main divisions of fibres.

  • Natural Fibres
  • Synthetic Fibres

Natural Fibres

  • The term "natural fibre" is used to describe fibres that originate from both plants and animals. These fibres are employed in numerous manufacturing techniques for composite materials. Paper can be made by matting several natural fibre layers together to form sheets. But the majority of natural fibres are renowned for their capacity to soak up liquids like sweat.
  • A variety of natural fibres can be used alone or in combination with another natural fibre or fibres to create a variety of textures. For instance, cotton fibres, which are natural fibres derived from the cotton plant, are used to create lightweight, delicate-textured cotton clothing.


Natural fibres are divided further into two categories based on the source of extraction, which is

  • Plant Fibres
  • Animal Fibres

Plant Fibre

Plants are the source of plant fibres. These plant-based fibres, which are used to create fabrics, are harvested.

  • Cotton: It's a type of plant fibre that has been utilised in clothing manufacturing. It is merely a ball of silky staple fibre that develops all around cotton plant seeds.

  • Leaf fibres: The natural fibres that can be obtained from the leaves of specific plants are called leaf fibres. Examples include the fibres found in pineapple and banana leaves.
  • Fruit Fibre: The fruit of the plant is used to make natural fibres. such as coconut fibre.
  • Jute: It is woven into strong, coarse threads from a delicate, slightly rough plant fibre.
  • Bast fibres- Natural fibres made from the cells in the trunk's outer layer. Because of their durability, these fibres are frequently used in fabric and packaging. Some examples of bast fibres include kenaf, rattan, ramie, jute, flax, vine, and hemp-based commercial fibres. It should be noted that these fibres are frequently used in fabric and packaging due to their durability.

Animal Fibres

These are a few examples of fibres that are created with the assistance of animals.

  • Silk- A natural fabric fibre made by silkworms is called silk.
  • Wool- Shearing off the fur of particular sheep breeds results in the production of animal fibre.
  • Sinew- Animal fibre, which connects the muscles and bones of some animals.
  • Mohair- Made with an animal fibre called angora goat hair.

Applications of Natural Fibres

  • Construction materials frequently use natural fibres like jute, bamboo, and flax fibres.
  • Numerous industries, including the automotive and electronics sectors, use cellulose fibre.
  • These natural fibres can be used to create panels that are both soundproof and insulation.
  • A variety of industries also use plant fibres.
  • The fundamental materials used in the textile industry must include cotton fibre.
  • Due to their capacity to facilitate the creation of biomaterials, natural fibres might also have applications in medicine.
  • A natural fibre called chitin can be used to filter out dangerous pollutants from industrial wastewater.

Synthetic Fibres

Synthetic fibres are also referred to as man-made fibres. The majority of them are petrochemicals because they are created using materials derived from petroleum. Such materials are polymerized to create a chemical that binds two carbon atoms together. These fibres, which are used to create fabrics, can come from either natural or synthetic sources. They are made of a tiny unit or polymer, which is composed of numerous monomers that repeat. The following list includes synthetic fibres.

  1. Rayon- It is produced using wood pulp. Because of its similarities to silk, it is also known as synthetic silk.
  2. Nylon- It was the first synthetic fibre ever created. Along with other things, it is used to create clothing, rope, and parachutes. One of the strongest fibres we have ever seen, it is.


Advantages of Synthetic Fibres

  • They cost less than natural fibres do.
  • They can support a heavy load and are strong.
  • Synthetic fibres have a very long lifespan and are difficult to wrinkle.
  • They are frequently used in clothing because they are soft.
  • They are stretchable and flexible.
  • They are simple to clean.
  • They are simple to wash and dry.

Disadvantages of Synthetic Fibres

  • Synthetic fibres may suffer damage if they are washed in hot water.
  • They are more likely to catch fire when compared to natural fibre.
  • The majority of synthetic fibres do not absorb water.

Difference Between Synthetic and Natural Fibres


            Natural Fibre             Synthetic Fibre
  • Natural fibre is generally obtained from living organisms or plants.
  • Synthetic fibres or man-made fibres are produced in an artificial way. 
  • The colours of natural fibres are due to the colour of the source they are extracted from which is completely natural.
  • The colours of the synthetic fibres are due to the dying of fibres with synthetic colouring materials or dyes.
  • Spinneret is not necessary during the spinning process of natural fibres.
  • Spinneret is required during the spinning process of synthetic fibres in order to produce filament.
  • The probability of containing pollutants or dust is very high.
  • Probability of containing pollutants or dust is very low.

Practice Problems

Q1. A substance made of thin, continuous strands is referred to as?

  1. Fibre
  2. Wool
  3. Cotton
  4. None of the above

Answer: (A)

Solution: Fibres are long strands of compounds that are interconnected to form a thread structure. Cotton, jute, and silk are examples of natural and man-made fibres.

Q2. How many different categories are there for fibre?

    A) 1

    B) 2

    C) 3

    D) 4

Answer: (B)


 Fibres are mainly divided into two categories.

  • Natural Fibres
  • Synthetic fibres

Q3. Which of the following is not true about natural fibres?

  1. Natural fibres are obtained from nature
  2. Natural fibres are more durable than synthetic fibres.
  3. Natural fibres can contain dust or contaminants
  4. The colours of natural fibres are due to the colour of the source they are extracted from. 

Answer: (B)

Solution: Natural fibre is generally obtained from living organisms or nature. The colours of natural fibres are due to the colour of the source they are extracted from which is completely natural. The probability of containing pollutants or dust is very high. Whereas the durability of natural fibres are less than that of synthetic fibre. Hence, option B is the correct choice.

Q4. Which of the following is not an advantage of synthetic fibres?

  1. They are less expensive than natural fibres.
  2. They are robust and capable of bearing a heavy load.
  3. Synthetic fibres are extremely long-lasting and don't wrinkle readily.
  4. None of the above.

Answer: (D)

Solution:  Synthetic fibres have the following benefits: They are less expensive than natural fibres. They can support a heavy load and are strong. Synthetic fibres have a very long lifespan and are difficult to wrinkle. Hence, option D is the correct choice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Why do parents advise us not to wear cotton clothes during the rainy season?

Answer: Cotton fibres are natural fibres, they absorb moisture very quickly but do not evaporate moisture easily. During the rainy season moisture content of the air is very high. Hence, it is advised to wear synthetic fibre clothes rather than cotton clothes.

Q2. Why silk clothes are very expensive?

Answer: Due to its labour- and land-intensive manufacture, silk is exceedingly expensive. It is constructed of triangular protein fibres that reflect light-like prisms.

Q3 Which is the most commonly used fibre in the world?

Answer: The most popular natural fibre in the world and still the unquestioned "monarch" of the global textile business is cotton.

Q4. Why it is advised to clean glasses with microfibres?

Answer: The safest clothes for cleaning glasses are really rare. Even seemingly soft materials, like your favourite t-shirt, can over time harm lenses due to tiny damage. Your greatest option for cleaning and drying that is both efficient and damage-free is a microfiber cloth. It is a fabric composed of millions of microscopic strands that are up to 100 times smaller than human hair and manufactured from ultra-fine synthetic yarns. A microfibre cloth can hold seven times its weight in the water thanks to the large surface area it gains from this.

Related Topics.

Classification of polymers Examples of polymers with monomers
Natural polymer Biodegradable polymers
Uses of polymers Biodegradable and non-biodegradable materials








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