Material properties are vital to consider when creating a textiles product, as the functionality of a fabric can make it a success or a failure. For example, a non-absorbent bath towel or a warm sundress would not be viable.
Natural fibres are all derived from vegetation, cellulose-based materials, as well as products that are made from animals.
|Cotton||Cool, cheap, strong, renewable||Denim jeans, shirts, lightweight clothing|
|Bamboo||Cheap, renewable, soft, absorbent, comfortable||Knitwear, socks|
|Linen||Renewable, strong, creases easily||Lightweight clothing|
|Wool||Soft, hardwearing, renewable||Knitwear, carpets|
|Silk||Expensive, renewable, drapes (hangs) well, good insulation properties (cool in summer, warm in winter)||Wedding dresses, ball gowns|
Synthetic fibres are not plant or animal based; they are made from polymers that are derived from petrochemicals.
|Polyester||Cheap, durable, non-renewable||Shirts, school uniform|
|Acrylic||Warm and soft, non-renewable||Bedding, clothing|
|Viscose||Cheap, lightweight, versatile, non-renewable||Clothing, underwear|
|Acetate||Resistant to degradation, cheap, no elasticity, non-renewable||Shiny, reflective clothing and curtains|
Fabrics can be blended to improve their properties.
|Polycotton||Cheap blend of polyester and cotton, crease resistant||Shirts, bedding|
|Elastane||Stretchy, retains shape well, cheap||Sportswear, leggings|
|Kevlar||Five times stronger than steel, uses chemical bonds and weave patterns for strength||Bullet-proof vests, car tyres|
|Nomex||Heat resistant and lightweight||Firefighters’ outfits|
|Sympatex||Breathable and waterproof||Sportswear and outdoor equipment|