All three of these materials are long fibers
used in making
textiles. One comes from an animal, one from a
plant, and the other is
synthetic, but all three are made up of polymer
strands. A polymer is
a long molecule made up of monomers, which are
molecules that are bonded together in a
Silk is a natural product made from the
fibers found in the cocoon of
the mulberry silk worm. It is actually made up
of long strands of the
proteins sericin and fibroin which are polymers
of amino acids - kind
of like your hair.
Linen is also a natural product made from
fibers from the flax plant.
Linen, like cotton, is made from cellulose,
which is a polymer of
Nylon is a synthetic polymer made from a
condensation reaction between
two chemicals. It is essentially like a long,
thin fiber of plastic.
"Textile conservation - the structure of cotton
and linen." Royal
Society of Chemistry.