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List of Natural Fibres – An Overview

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  • Vegetable Fibres
  • Animal Fibres
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Vegetable Fibres

  • Cotton: Cotton is the backbone of textile. Most of the textile products nowadays are made of cotton fibre. Cotton fibre comes from the seed of cotton plant. It grows inside the seed pods. Cotton is an annual crop. This plant can raise upto 4-6 ft. Cotton fibre is a seed-hair consisting of a single cell. Each cotton seed produces 20,000 fibres, where single boll may contain 150,000 fibres. Cotton fibres’s length is 2,000 times of its diameter. Cotton fibres contain convolutions on its surface.
  • Jute: Jute is a bast fibre. It is harvested in Bangladesh and India mostly. The fibre is approximately 2m long. Color of this fibre varies from yellow to brown, sometimes darker in color. It has a silky lustre. Jute is coarse and gives rough feel when touched. Jute is a stiff fibre, elongates less than other fibres. Uses – sacks, packing cloths, bedding foundation, cattle bedding, reinforced concrete, tyre wrappings, upholstery, wall coverings etc.
  • Hemp: It is a bast fibre which comes from Cannabis Sativa. Fibre is released from the woody part by water retting. Hemp is coarser fibre than flax. Color is dark. The fibre can be dyed with direct colors. The fibre is strong and durable. Cells of hemp fibre are thick-walled. Uses – sackings, canvas, ropes etc.
  • Flax: It comes from the stem of a plant Linum usitatissimum which is an annual plant and sub-tropically grown plant. There are long, slender, thick-walled cells in the inner bark of which the fibre strands are composed with. Uses – sewing thread, suture thread, furnishing fabrics,
  • Sunn: The stalks of Sunn is soaked in water (Retting) , then the fibres are peeled out from the stalks. It has a good lustre property. This fibre is strong as hemp and strength increases when it is wet. Sunn fibres are oval in cross-sectional view. It has lignin coating surrounding each cell. Uses – Paper manufacturing, carpets, rug sacks, fishing nets etc.
  • Kenaf(Mesta): Kenaf is a bast fibre. It has almost similar characteristics as Jute. Breaking strength is lower than Jute. Cells are coated with lignin. Cells are slightly om the shorter side
  • Nettle: Nettles go through retting process to free the bark from the woody core of the stalk. Then it is boiled to individualize the fibres which are then combed and oiled. These fibres are creamy white in color and feel soft when touched. Uses – twine, rope, canvas, furnishing fabrics.
  • Ramie: The fibre comes from Bohemian Nivea. Ramie fibre is white and lustrous. Hence ramie is a durable fibre, it has less elasticity. Ramie fibre has a hairy feel and its cell has a thick wall. Uses – canvas, packing materials, upholstery, furnishing fabrics, fishing nets, sewing threads etc.
  • Sisal: This is a leaf-fibre which comes from the plant Agava sisalana. Sisal fibres are stiff and less flexible. Sisal leaf contains long and straight fibres which are released by a process called decortication. Sisal fibres have a great affinity of direct and acid dyestuffs. It has good moisture absorbency. Uses – Power transmission, cables for lifts, twine, sacks, paper filters etc.
  • Abaca: The main source of Abaca fibre Philippine Islands. It is a leaf fibre and composed of long thin cells. Abaca fibre starns contain many individual fibres help together by natural gum. This strands can be 4.5m long. Naturally, Abaca has good lustre.  Good quality Abaca is off-white and poor quality fibres have nearly black color. It is a species of banana tree.
  • Urena: This is a bast fibre that comes from Urena lobate. It grows wild in many tropical regions. It has an attractive appearance and handle. It has a natural lustre. Uses – Sacks, yarns, fabrics etc.
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