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Fiber Microscopy

Plant Fibers. . . .Exotic Fibers. . . .Sheep Fibers

When using a microscope to look at fibers from a textile or a yarn, one can without too much difficulty determine the general category of the fiber. The pictures on this page show several plant fibers. Included are cotton and the bast fibers flax (known as linen when spun), hemp, and ramie. Go to the other pages to see animal fibers.


Click on the images to enlarge them.

Magnified view of one linen fiber showing smooth edges and lines going across the fiber.Linen magnified 100x when the original photograph was taken. The main fiber in this image is a fiber taken from a piece of linen yarn. The picture was taken with a camera through the lens of a microscope. The fiber was placed on a glass slide with a drop of water, and a thin glass coverslip was then placed over the fiber and the water. This particular picture was taken using cross polarizing lenses. Polarizing microscopy helps highlight the structure of the fiber so that the lines going across the fiber can be seen.
Higher magnified view of linen showing longitudinal columns.Linen magnified 400x in original photograph. When you enlarge this view you can see columns within the fiber.
Numerous cotton fibers in the field of view. Cotton magnified 100x. Some of the fibers in the image show that cotton is rather flat and looks like a ribbon when it twists.
Numerous cotton fibers that appear colored on a black background.This is a polarized view of cotton.
One cotton fiber image taken with microscope. Cotton magnified 400x. This shows the twisting of one fiber.
Microscopic view of hemp.Hemp fibers. Notice the bundle of fibers with the cross hatching.
The hemp fiber bundle is separating.Hemp fibers. In this picture you can see the fiber bundle starting to separate.
Ramie fiber, microscopic view.Ramie fiber. The cross hatching seems to be not as regularly spaced as in linen.
Ramie fiber with very fine fiber tendril.Ramie fiber. If you look closely you can see very fine tendrils that are attached to several fibers.
Exotic Fibers. . . .Sheep Fibers
© 2007 Debra Whitehead