What is "Crimp" - Definition & Explanation
Last Updated on: 19-Feb-2023 (7 months, 3 days ago)
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In textiles, crimp refers to the natural waviness or curvature of individual fibers within a yarn or fabric. Crimp is an important characteristic of many types of natural fibers, including wool, cashmere, and mohair, and can have a significant impact on the appearance and performance of textiles.

The crimp of a fiber is caused by the physical structure of the fiber itself. Fibers that have a natural crimp contain bends or curves in their structure that cause the fiber to kink or wave. These bends or curves are typically caused by differences in the thickness of the fiber at different points along its length.

Crimp can have a significant impact on the appearance and feel of a textile. In fabrics made from fibers with a natural crimp, the waviness of the fibers can create a textured, bumpy surface that adds visual interest and dimension to the fabric. The crimp can also affect the way that light reflects off the surface of the fabric, creating a distinctive sheen or luster.

Crimp can also have important functional implications for textiles. In fabrics made from wool, for example, the natural crimp of the fibers allows them to interlock and create a cohesive fabric that is strong, durable, and resistant to wear and tear. The crimp can also affect the insulating properties of the fabric, creating pockets of air that trap heat and make the fabric warmer and more comfortable to wear in cold weather.

Textile manufacturers can also manipulate the crimp of fibers in order to create specific effects in the final product. For example, fibers can be stretched or relaxed in order to increase or decrease the amount of crimp in the yarn or fabric. This can be used to create different textures, patterns, and levels of elasticity in the final product.

In addition to its role in textile manufacturing, crimp can also be used as a diagnostic tool in the identification of different types of fibers. Each type of fiber has a distinctive crimp pattern that can be used to differentiate it from other fibers. For example, wool fibers have a natural crimp pattern that is different from the straight, smooth fibers of cotton.

Overall, crimp is an important characteristic of many types of natural fibers and can have a significant impact on the appearance, feel, and performance of textiles. By understanding the role of crimp in textile manufacturing, designers and manufacturers can create fabrics that have the desired level of texture, elasticity, and durability to meet the needs of their customers.
a) In Fibre

The waviness of a fibre, i.e. the condition in which the axis of a fibre under minimum external stress departs from a straight line and follows a simple or a complex or an irregular wavy path.


1. In its simplest form, crimp is uniplanar and regular, i.e. it resembles a sine wave, but it is frequently much more complicated and irregular. An example of three-dimensional crimp is helical.

2. Crimp may be expressed numerically as the number of waves (crimps) per unit length, or as the difference between the distance between two points on the fibre when it is relaxed and when it is straightened under suitable tension, expressed as a percentage of the relaxed distance.

b) In Yarn

The waviness or distortion of a yarn owing to interlacing in the fabric.


1. In woven fabric, the crimp is measured by the relation between the length of the fabric test specimen and the corresponding length of yarn when it is removed therefrom and straightened under suitable tension. The crimp may then be expressed numerically as a percentage or as a ratio, i.e. the ratio of yarn length to fabric length. In both methods, fabric length is the basis.

2. Although this definition could logically be applied to knitted fabrics or fabrics of pile construction, it is usual to employ special terms, e.g. stitch length, terry ratio.

The degree of corrugation or regular wave found in locks of fibre. This can vary from an extremely tight crimp with many closely spaced corrugations to a lock that is completely straight with no wave or crimp whatsoever. The presence of crimp may give more elasticity to the fibre once it is processed into yarn and result in better performance of the yarn.

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