From Natural Fibers to Man-Made Plastics

  • Rolf E. Hummel


Natural fibers were utilized by mankind considerably earlier than metals, alloys, and ceramics. Indeed, it can be reasonably assumed that fibers were applied by humans long before recorded history. Moreover, even some animals use fibers, for example, when building nests (birds, mammals), webs (spiders), for protection during pupation (caterpillars, silkworms), or for retrieving insects out of narrow holes (chimpanzees). In short, some animals produce fibers for their needs, whereas others collect them. The history of the utilization of fibers is, however, much harder to trace than that of metals and ceramics because fibers often deteriorate through rot, mildew, and bacterial action. In other words, only a few specimens of early fibers have been found so far.


Natural Rubber Natural Fiber Rubber Tree Silk Fiber Wool Fiber 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Suggestions for Further Study

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rolf E. Hummel
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Materials Science and EngineeringUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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