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

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Fibre structure & physical properties

Fibre composition:


Diameter: 12-16 μm
Very fine: < 10 μm, Fine: < 20 μm, Medium: 20-50 μm, Course: > 50 μm

Length: Staple

Staple length: 40-150 mm
short < 26 mm, medium 26-29 mm, long: 30-38 mm, extra long: 39 mm and over

Natural fibre colour: Brownish, ivory, grey colour

Microscopic Images (Cross sectional and SEM):

Image source:

Amiri, Ali, Yu, Arvin, Webster, Dean, and Ulven, Chad. “Bio-Based Resin Reinforced with Flax Fiber as Thermorheologically Complex Materials.” Polymers 8.4 (2016): 153. Web.


Irregular polygonal shape with straight sides with narrow lumem

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


Outer surface shows lengthwise furrows, transverse cracks and swollen nodes.

Fibre properties (Mechanical, Chemical and Thermal)

Mechanical Properties

Tensile strength (cN/dtex) :

Chemical Properties

Hydrophobicity: Hydrophilic

Moisture regain (%): 12.4%

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

Flax plant requires less water than cotton
Very little waste from flax plant. Linseed oil is a byproduct of flax plant seeds.
Requires fewer pesticides, herbicides and fungicides than cotton

End uses

Apparel: Crisp, lightweight. Often blended with Viscose or Polyester
Furnishing: Tea towels, curtains, upholstery


How Linen Is Made [9m 37s]

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.