What is "Fibrillation" - Definition & Explanation
Last Updated on: 14-Jan-2023 (1 year, 5 months ago)
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Fibrillation is a phenomenon that occurs in textile fibers, particularly natural fibers, where the individual fibrils or microfibers on the surface of the fiber become exposed and frayed, leading to a rough and hairy texture. This process can occur during various stages of textile production, including spinning, weaving, or finishing, and can have significant implications for the overall quality and performance of the fabric.

Meaning and Definition

Fibrillation is the process by which the surface of textile fibers undergoes physical and mechanical stress, causing the individual fibrils to break free from the fiber structure and protrude outward. This results in the formation of small, hair-like projections on the surface of the fabric, giving it a rough and uneven appearance. Fibrillation is more common in natural fibers such as cotton, linen, and jute, as they possess a complex structure of fibrils and microfibers.

Types of Fibrillation

There are two main types of fibrillation that can occur in textile fibers:

  1. Primary Fibrillation: Primary fibrillation happens during the production of fibers and is primarily influenced by factors such as the fiber's chemical composition, molecular structure, and processing conditions. It occurs when the fiber is subjected to mechanical forces during spinning or other fiber production methods, causing the surface fibrils to separate and become exposed.
  2. Secondary Fibrillation: Secondary fibrillation occurs during subsequent textile processes, such as weaving, knitting, or finishing. It can be triggered by various factors, including excessive abrasion, tension, or chemical treatments. Secondary fibrillation often results from the interaction between the fabric and external forces, causing the fibrils to break free and protrude from the surface of the fabric.

Tips in Handling Fibrillated Fabrics

When dealing with fibrillated fabrics, it is essential to consider appropriate handling and care techniques to maintain the fabric's quality:

  • Gentle Washing: Fibrillated fabrics should be washed using a gentle cycle and mild detergent to minimize further damage to the fibrils. Avoid harsh washing methods or abrasive materials that can exacerbate the fibrillation.
  • Low-Temperature Drying: To prevent excessive fibril breakage, it is advisable to air dry or use a low-temperature setting when machine drying fibrillated fabrics. High heat can cause further fraying and damage.
  • Ironing Precautions: When ironing fibrillated fabrics, use a low-heat setting and place a pressing cloth or towel between the iron and the fabric to minimize direct heat exposure. Ironing should be done with gentle, smooth movements to avoid causing additional fibrillation.
  • Storage: Fibrillated fabrics should be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and moisture. Avoid folding or compressing the fabric excessively, as it can further damage the fibrils.

Top International Users and Manufacturers

Several top international brands utilize fibrillated fabrics in their textile products, incorporating them into various applications. Here are some notable users and manufacturers:

  1. PATAGONIA: Patagonia, known for its outdoor clothing and gear, employs fibrillated fabrics in their performance apparel, enhancing breathability and moisture-wicking capabilities.
  2. The North Face: The North Face utilizes fibrillated fabrics in their outdoor and sports apparel lines, offering enhanced durability and insulation.
  3. REI Co-op: REI Co-op incorporates fibrillated fabrics into their outdoor and activewear, providing comfort, flexibility, and moisture management.
  4. Arcteryx: Arcteryx, a leading outdoor clothing and equipment brand, utilizes fibrillated fabrics to create lightweight, breathable, and weather-resistant garments.
  5. Icebreaker: Icebreaker, specializing in merino wool apparel, incorporates fibrillated fabrics to enhance the thermal regulation and moisture-wicking properties of their garments.
  6. Puma: Puma, a renowned athletic apparel brand, integrates fibrillated fabrics into their sports and performance wear, offering improved breathability and flexibility.


Fibrillation is a phenomenon that occurs in textile fibers, resulting in the exposure and fraying of individual fibrils on the surface of the fabric. It can occur during various stages of textile production and affects the fabric's texture and appearance. Understanding the different types of fibrillation and adopting appropriate handling techniques are crucial in maintaining the quality and longevity of fibrillated fabrics. Several top international brands incorporate fibrillated fabrics in their textile products, utilizing their unique properties to enhance performance and comfort in a range of applications.

Breaking of fibers into smaller diameter fibers, which increases light refraction and gives the appearance of color fading.
Process of making fibers by cutting sheet polymers into thin strips.

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