Type: Natural fibre | Classification: Vegetable fibres | Sub-classification: From seed

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Fibre structure & physical properties

Fibre composition:


Diameter: 30 to 36 μm
Very fine: < 10 μm, Fine: < 20 μm, Medium: 20-50 μm, Course: > 50 μm

Length: Staple

Staple length: 8 to 30mm
short < 26 mm, medium 26-29 mm, long: 30-38 mm, extra long: 39 mm and over

Natural fibre colour: Brownish yellow colour

Microscopic Images (Cross sectional and SEM):

Image source:

Liu, Jie, and Wang, Fumei. “Influence of Mercerization on Micro-structure and Properties of Kapok Blended Yarns with Different Blending Ratios.” Journal of Engineered Fibers and Fabrics 6.3 (2011): 155892501100600. Web.


Smooth circular cross section with wide air filled lumen

(CC) Sebastian Nordstrom
(CC) Sebastian Nordstrom
(CC) Sebastian Nordstrom
(CC) Sebastian Nordstrom


Smooth with wax cutin on the fiber surface which makes them water repellent

Fibre properties (Mechanical, Chemical and Thermal)

Mechanical Properties

Tensile strength (cN/dtex) :

Chemical Properties

Hydrophobicity: Hydrophilic

Moisture regain (%): 10%

Thermal Properties

Flammability: Cellulosic fibres such as cotton, hemp jute etc. burns with a steady flame and smells like burning paper or leaves. The ash is greyish and easily crushed.

Sustainability considerations

End uses

used in bedding and upholstery industries, in the production of life-saving equipment, and in the construction of thermally insulated and soundproof covers and walls.


Kapok Fibre processing [1m 45s]
Kapok fiber explained [1m 6s]

Materials using this fibre

Additional resources

Taylor MA, 2004. Technology of Textile Properties. Third edition. Forbes Publications, London, UK.

Zhong Z and Xiao C, 2008. Fabric composition and testing. In: Fabric Testing. Ed: Hu, J. Woodhead Publishing Limited, Cambridge, UK.

ISO/TR 11827:2012 Textiles — Composition testing — Identification of fibres.

Houck, Max M. Identification of Textile Fibers. Cambridge : Boca Raton: Woodhead Pub. in Association with The Textile Institute ; CRC, 2009. Print.