Many different fibres are known to be usable; some 40 of these are of commercial importance, and others are of local or specialised use...
- Fibres may be classified as either natural or synthetic.
The natural fibres may be further classed according to origin as animal, vegetable, or inorganic fibres;
- Animal fibres are composed chiefly of proteins; they include silk, wool, and goat hair (known as mohair), llama and alpaca, vicuņa, camel, horse, rabbit, beaver, hog, badger, sable, and other animals.
- Vegetable fibres are composed chiefly of cellulose and may be classed as short fibres, e.g., cotton and kapok; or long fibres, including flax (used to produce linen), hemp, Manila hemp, istle, ramie, sisal hemp, and Spanish moss.
- The chief natural inorganic fibre is asbestos. Fibres are also derived from other inorganic substances that can be drawn into threads, e.g., metals (especially gold and silver).
- Artificial fibres can be produced either by the synthesis of polymers (nylon) or by the alteration of natural fibres (rayon).
- Here we will concentrate on general demand for textile fibres worldwide and on some of the natural ones: cotton, wool, hemp, silk and linen