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Which is made from a plant silk, linen or nylon?
Question Date: 2012-07-10
Answer 1:

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 identical smaller molecules that are bonded together in a chain.

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 glucose molecules.

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. inspirati onal resources

Answer 2:

Thanks for the great question! Linen is made from a plant (cotton), silk is made by (not from!) an animal (the silk worm spins silk to make cocoons, very similar to the ones you sometimes see caterpillars make), and nylon is made by people in factories!

Although all three of these materials come from different sources, they are very similar. You can even tell this because all of these materials look "stringy" or like fibers if you look at them very closely. The scientific name for these type of materials is a polymer; silk and linen are natural polymers because they occur naturally (linen from cotton) and nylon is a man-made polymer (nothing like nylon has ever been made by nature!).

I hope that this helps, and please continue to send along more questions!

Answer 3:

Silk comes from a silk worm's cocoon. A silk worm is a domesticated caterpillar form of the silk moth. Nylon comes from a chemical process so if completely man made. Of the tree line is the only one from a plant. Linen is made from fibers of the flax plant.

Answer 4:

Linen is made from fibers of the flax plant, Nylon is made from fibers of a human-made polymer (it's a plastic) Silk is made from fibers that insects make (silkworm larvae, though now also spider silk!)

Some other natural fibers that are used in clothes:
Cotton (from the cotton plant)
Wool (from sheep or llamas)
Cashmere (is wool from the neck of goats)

Some other human-made polymers that are very common in clothes nowadays:
Spandex (also known as elastane or Lycra)
Polyester (also known as polar fleece)

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