The features of Alpaca fiber, are mainly determined by:
- Soft to the touch
- Thermal Properties
The fineness of the alpaca fiber is between 18 and 40 microns, depending on what part of the fleece ? longer reflects the age of the animal.
The fiber length varies depending on the type or variety. It is reported that the length of fiber from the variety Huacayo, is about two inches shorter than that of the variety Suri, whose length is estimated between 6-8 inches. The fiber length and its variability is related to the growing period. When considering two years of growth, as originally fleece, length and variation are greater than those of a year of growth.
The excessive length of material demand fractionation, giving it a greater variability in the fiber, with consequent loss of material. The averages of both staple length, and fiber are values that place as textile suitable for combing system, especially if one takes into account that the lower limit of fiber length for this process is 3 inches.
As a result of the comparative study of the useful features of alpaca one year versus two years of growth, it was concluded that the fiber has better characteristics one year long, besides uniformity, compared to those grown in two years, damaged at the apex in almost an inch action of ultraviolet rays, intense in the Peruvian highlands.
The resistance is the degree of tension supports. Alpaca fiber is almost 3 times stronger than wool.
The softness is given by the type of fibers which compose it; may be thin or thick. The soft feel is given by several factors including the fiber flakes, fineness, moisture and very nature of the fiber. The race Suri fiber has no perceptible desquamation giving it a smooth, shiny and soft giving it less than the huacaya.
Is a textile characteristic which is manifested in the facility as the fiber is deformed and returns to its normal position. The alpaca wool compared to the, has slow water absorption power.
It is the ability of textile fibers absorb water from the atmosphere, altering its volume and weight characteristics. This feature is important in the marketing alpaca, since it absorbs moisture in relation to the variation of relative humidity.
The alpaca fleece has a grease content of 2% to 5% which is low compared with the wool is 15% to 20%.
The fleece which covers the alpaca, allows these animals to withstand the temperatures varied high Andes, and the heavy rains of the summer due to its special characteristics such as the presence of a bone that contain air pockets that determine a great thermostatic power and impermeability. This power allows the fiber thermostatic act as a thermal insulator keeping body temperature at normal levels.