Animal Fibers

 

Wool and silk

Wool and silk are two important fibers obtained from animals. Wool is used for making winter clothing which keeps us warm. We get it from the fleece of domesticated animals like sheep and goat. It is also derived in lesser quantity from camels, yaks and rabbits. Wool is a versatile, durable and elastic fiber. It is light, soft, thick and wrinkle resistant. It is made up of proteins.

From sheep: Sheep hair has two types of fibers – the beard hair and the skin hair. The skin hair provides the fiber to make wool. The process of making fiber into wool follows a series of processes:

Shearing → Scouring → Sorting → Dyeing → Straightening, Rolling and Combing

Shearing

This is the first step of processing fiber into wool. In this method, the fleece of the sheep along with a thin layer of skin is removed.

Scouring

After the shearing process, the sheared hair is washed in big tanks to remove grease, dust and dirt by automatic machines. This process of washing sheared hair is known as scouring.

Sorting

In sorting, hairs of different textures and types are sorted.

Dyeing

This process involves coloring of fibers in different colors.

Straightening, Rolling, and Combing

After the dyeing process, the fibers are straightened, rolled and combed into yarns.

Uses of Wool

Wool is used for thousands of years for both decorative and functional purposes. This fiber has a number of advantages, including flexibility, durability, and water resistance. Products made from wool are:

  • Woolen clothes
  • Blankets
  • Boots

Silk is an animal protein fiber produced by specific insects; that build their cocoons and webs.

Many different types of silk are produced by a huge variety of different types of insects other than moth caterpillars ,but only a few variants are used in commercial use and many more are yet to be used.

The commercial process of silk making is highly complex and labor intensive. The following process is how silk is made:

  • Sericulture
  • Hatching the eggs
  • The Feeding period
  • Spinning the cocoon
  • Reeling the filament