Science project

Which Fabrics are Most Absorbent?


How does the shape and strucure of the fibers in a fabric affect its absorbency?


  • 100% cotton fabric -- a “fat quarter” from the fabric store will work
  • 100% polyester fabric
  • 100% rayon fabric
  • 100% wool fabric
  • 100% nylon fabric
  • Water
  • Microscope
  • Pen and paper for notes


  1. Observe the fibers of the cotton fabric sample under a microscope. Note the shape of its fibers and how the threads are woven/knit together.
  2. Pour half a regular-sized drinking glass of water on a flat table.
  3. While wet, press the cotton fabric sample onto the water. Make sure it is soaked and try to get all the water up from the table in one attempt.
  4. Go back to the microscope and observe the fibers again. What do you see now that is different from before? What is happening to the fibers?
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 for the rest of your fabric samples.
  6. Record your results.
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