Different Types of Silk Fiber

Types of Silk

Rakibul Islam Khan
Department of Textile Engineering
Ahsanullah University of Science & Technology (AUST)
Email: pl_20in@hotmail.com

Silk is a natural protein fibre, some forms of which can be woven into textiles. A variety of silks, produced by caterpillars and mulberry silkworm, have been known and used in China, South Asia, and Europe since ancient times. The strands of raw silk as they are unwound from the cocoon consist of the two silk filaments mixed with sericin and other materials. About 75 % of the strand is silk i.e. fibroin and 23 % is sericin; the remaining materials consist of fat and wax (1.5 %) and mineral salts (0.5 %). As a natural protein fiber silk has a significant attraction towards natural dyes.
Silk Fabric
Types of Silk

Raw silk:
Silk fibre as it comes from the cocoon is coated with a protective layer called silk gum, or sericin. The silk gum is dull and stiff. Silk with all of its gum is termed raw silk.
Raw silk
Tussah silk:
Silk made from wild silkworms is called tussah silk. The natural color of tussah silk is usually not white, but shades of pale beige, brown and grey. It is usually coarser than cultivated silk.
Tussah silk
Bombyxmori silk:
It is also known as mulberry silk which is produced by domesticated silkworm raised on diet of mulberry leaves almost exclusively softer, finer and more lustrous than tussah silk. This silk produces shades of white product.
Bombyxmori silk
Reeled silk or Thrown silk:
It is term for silk fibre that is unwound from the silkworm cocoon. It is the most fine silk, the fibres are very long, shiny and of great strength.
Reeled silk
Spun silk:
Silk made from broken cocoon (from which the moths have already emerged) and short fibres, feels more like cotton.
Spun silk
Weighted silk:
When yarns are prepared for weaving, the skeins of yarn are boiled in a soap solution to remove the natural silk gum or sericin. The silk may lose from 20 to 30 percent of its original weight as a result of boiling. As silk has a great affinity for metallic salts such as those of tin and iron, the loss of weight is replaced through the absorption of metals. Thus a heavier fabric can be made at a lower price than that of pure silk, which is known as weighted silk.
Weighted silk
Pure silk:
If the natural gum or sericin is removed from the silk and no further material is added to increase the weight of the fibre, i.e. silk containing no metallic weighting is called pure silk. Pure silk is exclusively soft and possesses fine luster.
Pure silk
Sharing Knowledge: Students, teachers and professionals can publish your article here. It is a platform to express your knowledge throughout the world. For details: Submit Article


Mazharul Islam Kiron is a textile consultant and researcher on online business promotion. He is working with one European textile machinery company as a country agent. He is also a contributor of Wikipedia.

Let's Get Connected: LinkedIn | Facebook | Google Plus