Fibers are the most basic raw material for the textile industry. They are thread like strands which are converted into yarns with the help of textile spinning machines
. Fibers are divided into various categories on the basis of different criteria. The most common categorization is that of natural fibers and synthetic fibers. Natural fibers have their source in plants and animals and include such fibers as cotton, hemp, linen, jute, silk, wool etc. Synthetic fibers are chemically composed, mostly with petroleum based products and include such fibers as polyester, acrylics, aramid, polyethylene, spandex etc. Fibers are also categorized as filament and staple fibers. Fibers in the form of strands are called filaments, example being nylon filament yarn
. Very short fibers are known as staple fibers.
Fibers are further categorized on the basis of their usage. Some fibers are more suitable for clothing purpose and as such they are called textile fibers like, cotton, wool, rayon, polyester, silk etc. Fibers like jute and cord are suitable for making non textile products like sacks, bags as also for filling purpose like in mattress
and automotive upholstery. Many other fibers are good for making other accessories for textile as well as other products. For example wool and cotton fibers are respectively used for making wool felt
and cotton felt.