Key Difference – Silk vs Wool
Silk and wool are two types of fibers that are obtained from animal sources. Silk is manufactured from the cocoons of silkworms whereas wool is manufactured from the fur of furry animals like goats. There are many similarities as well as differences between silk and wool. The key difference between silk and wool is wools ability to retain warmth. Although fabrics made from both silk and wool are able to retain warmth, wool is a better insulator of heat than silk.
What is Silk?
Silk is a natural fiber that is obtained from an animal source. It is taken from the cocoons of silkworms. Some forms of silk can be woven into clothes. There are several insects that can produce silk, but only the silk produced by the moth caterpillars are used for textile production. The most popular form of silk is obtained from the cocoons of mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori. Fabrics such as chiffon, charmeuse, crepe de chine, taffeta, habutai, and tussah are often made from silk.
The fiber in silk mainly consists of fibroin and it is one of the strongest natural fibers. However, it loses about 20% of its strength when it is wet. It also has a moderate to poor elasticity; it remains stretched even if a small force is applied. Silk has a smooth very soft texture, but it is not slippery like many artificial fibers. The shiny nature of silk is due to the triangular prism-like structure of the silk fiber. Fabrics made from silk fiber are light but it can keep its wearers warm. Silk textiles may be weakened if it is exposed to too much sunlight.
Silk is often used for clothing such as formal dresses, shirts, blouses, ties, lining, pajamas, dress suits, lingerie, high fashion clothing and Eastern traditional costumes. Silk’s shine also makes it suitable for decorations and furniture. It is used for wall coverings, beddings, upholstery, etc.
What is Wool?
Wool is a textile fiber that is obtained from furry animals like sheep. Wool is made from the fur of these animals. There are different types of wool; for example, cashmere and mohair are obtained from goats, angora is produced from the fur of rabbits.
Wool is used to make clothing, especially winter clothing. Knitted clothing is typically made from wool. In addition, it is also used for applications such as blankets, rugs, carpets, saddle clothes, and upholstery.
Wool is a good insulator of heat – it has natural air pockets that help to keep the heat produced by the body inside and help to stay warm during the winter. This is why winter clothes such as sweaters are made from wool.
Wool fiber is durable and stretchable; it is soft and absorbs water. The fiber doesn’t wrinkle easily and springs back to shape. When the fiber or fabric is rubbed, it produces static electricity. The quality of wool is decided by the yield, fiber diameter, color, crimp, and staple strength. The diameter of the fiber is one of the important factors in deciding the quality as well as the price of wool.
What is the difference between Silk and Wool?
Silk: Silk is produced from cocoons of silkworms.
Wool: Wool is produced from fur of animals.
Silk: Fabrics such as taffeta, chiffon, charmeuse and crepe de chine are made from silk.
Wool: Flannel, challis, jersey, etc. are made from wool.
Silk: Silk has a shiny, shimmery appearance.
Wool: Wool doesn’t have a shine.
Silk: Silk is not as good as wool in retaining warmth.
Wool: Wool has good insulating properties.
Silk: Silk is often used for formal dresses.
Wool: Wool is specially used for winter clothing.