Prof. R. N. Narkhedkar and Parag Bali share the details on wool, a natural, animal hair fibre.
Wool is a natural fibre composed of proteins, as it comes from the fleece of sheep. Each sheep has various grades of fleece found in their coat with the highest grade fibers being found on the sides, shoulders, and back, while the lowest grade are found on the lower legs.
Wool could be sourced from the fleece of sheep and other animals. These include cashmere from goats, mohair from rabbits and other types of wool from camellias, musk ox, Angora rabbit, vicuna, guanaco, pashmina and alpaca. Wool has some special qualities which distinguish it from hair or fur. The best quality wool comes from merino sheep, found in Australia.
Properties of wool
- Luxurious fibre with excellent feel and touch
- Soft and natural
- Light weight and durable
- Hygroscopic (moisture breathable)
- Highly flexible and durable
- Good drape and fall
- High UV protection
- Insulating properties
- High ignition threshold (good resistance to fire)
- Multi-climatic fibre
Physical appearance of wool
Microscopic view of cuticle cells of wool fibre
The staple structure of wool contains high amount of crimps. Wool's unique cellular structure gives it a number of desirable properties. Wool fibres have a unique surface structure of overlapping scales called cuticle cells. These cuticle cells anchor the fibre to a sheep's skin. Cuticle cells point towards the tip of the lock, similar to the arrangement of fish scales.