Indian kapok

Jump to navigation Jump to search


Short, lightweight cellulosic fibers obtained from the seeds of the Indian kapok tree, Bombax malabaricum. Both Indian kapok and Java kapok are commonly known as kapok. Despite their different botanical sources, it is difficult to tell the fibers apart. Kapok fibers are soft, smooth and transparent. They are buoyant and will support up to 30 times their own weight. The fluffy fibers are too brittle to spin and are used for filling mattresses, upholstery and life jackets.

See also Bombax, and Kapok.

Synonyms and Related Terms

Bombax cotton; vegetable down; kapok (Esp.)


  • Combustible.

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Fiber length = 20 - 32 mm (0.75-1.25 inches)
  • Diameter = 20 micrometers
  • Cross section is oval or circular.

Resources and Citations

  • M. Joseph, Introductory Textile Science, Holt Reinhold & Winston, Fort Worth, 1986.