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What are the properties of linen?

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Let us now discuss the properties of linen.

Microscopic Properties:
• Longitudinal Section (L.S.): The flax fibers has an irregular width and has no convolutions as seen in cotton but crosswise marks corresponding to nodes are visible along the length of the fibers.
• Cross Section (C.S.): The flax fibers are polygonal with rounded edges. The central canal (lumen) is visible inside a thick outer wall.

Physical Properties:
• Length: The flax fibers length falls in the range of 5-12 inches and is much longer than cotton.
• Diameter: The flax fibers are not much fine as compared to cotton and diameter ranges from 12-16 micrometer.
• Colour: The colour varies from grey, brown, ivory and yellow.
• Lustre: The lustre of flax is quite high as the incident light that falls on the fibers reflects evenly.
• Tenacity: The tensile strength of flax fibers is 5.5-6.5g/d and has 20% more strength when wet which makes the fabric more durable.
• Elongation, elastic recovery and resiliency: The flax fiber has low elongation and elasticity. Elongation at the break for flax fiber is about 1.8 % when dry and 2.2% in wet. The linen fabric also has low resistance to creases and folds.
• Moisture regain: The flax fiber has a moisture regain of 20% and this property of flax makes linen a comfortable fabric to wear.

Chemical Properties:
• Acids: The flax fabric gets damaged by concentrated acids but can withstand the action of dilute acids.
• Alkalis: The alkalis have no effect on the flax fabric and detergents with high alkali content can be used for washing.
• Organic Solvents: Flax is highly resistant to organic solvent and can be easily dry cleaned.

Other Properties:
• The linen fabric has the property to quickly absorb moisture from body perspiration and thus provides coolness and comfort in humid conditions.
• Linen is flammable fiber that ignites quickly and the safe ironing temperature for linen is about 260. i.e. higher than cotton.
• The flax fibers are cellulosic in nature and thus get attacked by silverfish. Linen when dry has resistance to mildew but damage may be caused in humid conditions.
• The strength of flax fabric is affected by exposure to sunlight.

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