From Academic Kids
- For other meanings of fiber/fibre please see Fiber (disambiguation).
Fiber (American English) or fibre (Commonwealth English) is a class of materials that are in discrete elongated pieces, similar to pieces of thread. Fibers are often used in the manufacture of other materials. They can be spun into thread or rope. They can be used as a component of composite materials. They can also be matted into sheets to make products such as paper or felt.
Fibers come from a wide variety of sources:
- Natural vegetable fibers generally comprise cellulose: examples include cotton, linen, jute and hemp. Cellulose fibers serve in the manufacture of paper and cloth. Natural animal fibers include spider silk, sinew, hair, and wool. Naturally occurring mineral fibers include asbestos.
- Man-made fibers include those made artificially, but from from natural raw materials (often cellulosic). Examples include fiberglass, rayon, acetate, Modal, cupro, and the more recently developed Lyocell.
- Synthetic fibers are a subset of man-made fibers, which are based on synthetic chemicals rather than arising from natural chemicals by a purely physical process. Such fibers are quite often made from nylon, polyester, or acrylic polymers, although pure polyacrylonitrile fibers are mostly used to make carbon fiber. More exotic fibers have strong bonding between polymer chains (i.e. aramids), or extremely long chains (i.e., Dyneema). Elastomers can even be used, i.e. in spandex.