Alpaca (fabric)

Alpaca (cloth). Alpaca is a flat, opaque fabric that looks similar to wool . It contains two twisted threads in regular twist (grenai threads), one of which is viscose crepe, which is the cape that provides the texture, and a larger acetate , which will give the body. It has been widely used in making men’s suits.

Also the fiber of alpaca hair, which is used to make fabrics to produce, for example, coats fur . Coming from the camelid of South America , this fiber is 10 to 15 cm long; It is distinguished by its softness, finesse and luster, being as natural colors: light yellow , white , dark brown, gray , black and reddish.


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  • 1 Production
    • 1 Alpaca production systems
    • 2 Characteristics of alpaca fiber
    • 3 Marketing and transformation of alpaca fiber
  • 2 See also
  • 3 Sources


It is assumed that the specialization for the production of alpaca fiber derives from a selection process practiced since pre-Columbian times. There are two breeds of alpacas, the Huacaya and the Suri.

  • The Huacaya alpaca is characterized by having a compact, fluffy fleece similar to the Corriedale sheep fleece, which gives it a more voluminous appearance, with soft, wavy fine fibers.
  • Suri nickel silver features long fibers arranged in dangling curls, similar to the curls of the Lincoln sheep , which gives the animal an angular appearance.

Alpaca production systems

The alpaca farming systems in Peru are mostly community-based, with low-income producers. These systems are extensive, based on the exploitation of native grazing fields and mixed herds that generally include sheep and that may also include llamas.

Management systems are traditional with limited adoption of technologies conducive to improved productivity, therefore yields per animal and herd are still low. The shearing is done with manual, mechanical scissors or other more rudimentary implements. Shearing in Peru is carried out in November, when the forage supply increases with a concomitant increase in the herd’s nutritional condition. From May the forage supply declines rapidly with the consequent deterioration of the herds’ diet. These changes in the feeding level are positively correlated with the fiber diameter, which is greater in the period of forage abundance and smaller in the period of low availability.

Characteristics of alpaca fiber

The textile industry refers to alpaca fibers as special fibers and the articles made with them are classified as luxury items.

Like all special fibers, alpaca fibers are flexible and soft to the touch, low flammability, low felting and low allergenicity. In addition, the fabrics of these fibers are prone to making dresses with excellent folds, appearance, drop and luster, which together give the appearance of being new, regardless of how long they may have been worn. In this context, the fabrics made with alpaca are comparable to those made with sheep wool but with an average diameter 3 to 4 microns lower. In contrast to sheep fleeces, the clean yields of alpaca fleeces are high (87% to 95%), which allows less expensive industrial processing. Tissue processing ranges from thick tweeds to fine trench coats, which don’t break, fray, stain, or produce static.

The alpaca and vicuña fibers share soft characteristics and exhibit high tensile strength (with values ​​greater than 40 N / ktex), an important condition in the industrial process. The capacity of these fibers to absorb environmental humidity is low (maximum 10 to 15%) and therefore does not affect their appearance.

These fibers also allow the body temperature to be maintained due to containing microscopic air pockets in the marrow that allow articles made from nickel silver to be used in a wide range of climates .

Fleece weight and fineness also depend on the sex and age of the animal. Males produce more fiber than females, and fleece weight increases with age. The diameter of the fibers increases until approximately 4 years of life and then decline. Females produce fleeces with a lower proportion of marrowed fibers and a smaller average fiber diameter than males.

Marketing and transformation of alpaca fiber

For the purposes of marketing, the alpaca fibers produced in Peru are classified according to the Peruvian Technical Standard (2004) No. 231.301, based on fineness and minimum average length in six qualities:

  1. Alpaca Baby (23 μm and 65 mm)
  2. Alpaca Fleece (23.1 to 26.5 μm and 70 mm)
  3. Alpaca Medium Fleece (26.6 to 29 μm and 70 mm)
  4. Aluarca Huarizo (29.1 to 31.5 μm and 70 mm)
  5. Thick Alpaca (> 31.5 μm and 70 mm)
  6. Short nickel silver (short fibers between 20 and 50 mm).

The names of these qualities do not necessarily reflect the ages of the animals or other phenotypic characteristics.



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