Friday, July 2, 2010

Nature Fiber - Sisal 苎麻


Sisal fiber is obtained from Agave sisalana, a native of Mexico. The hardy plant grows well in a variety of hot climates. Including dry areas unsuitable for other crops. After harvest, its leaves are cut and crushed in order to separate the pulp from the fibers.
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Sisal is used in twine and ropes, but competition from polypropylene has weakened demand.
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But other markets are emerging. Today, sisal can be found in speciality paper, filters, geotextiles, mattresses, carpets, and wall coverings.
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It is used as reinforcement in plastic composite materials, particularly in automotive components, but also in furniture. Another promising use is as a substitute for asbestos in brake pads. It is also the best material for making dartboards.
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By-products from sisal extraction can be used for making bio-gas, pharmaceutical ingredients and building material.
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Sisal is cultivated for fiber in Brazil, China, Cuba, Kenya, Haiti, Madagascar, and Mexico. Production patterns differ between countries. In Tanzania and Kenya, sisal is predominantly a plantation crop, while production in Brazil is largely small-scale.

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World production of sisal and a similar agave fiber, henequen ( from Agave fourcroydes ) is estimated around 300,000 tonnes. The major producers are Brazil, Tanzania and Kenya.
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http://www.naturalfibres2009.org




Nature Fiber - Ramie 剑麻


Native to East Asia and commonly know as China-grass, ramie ( Boehmeria nivea ) is a flowering plant of the nettle family. Its bark has been used for millennia to make twine and thread, and spun as grass-cloth.
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Coarse ramie fibers are suitable for making twine, rope and nets. Wet-spun, it produces a fine yarn with high luster, suitable for a wide range of garments, ranging from dresses to jeans.
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Fabrics of 100% ramie are lightweight and silky, similar in appearance to linen. The Korean traditional costume, the ramie hanbok, is renowned for its fineness.
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However, since it has low elasticity and resilience, ramie is usually blended with other textile fibers. It increases the luster and strength of cotton fiber and reduces shrinkage in wool blends. It is also blended with silk.


The ramie plant is grown for fiber mainly in China, Brazil, the Lao PDR and the Philippines. Wile it is considered a promising ecological fiber for use in textiles industry, fiber extraction and cleaning is difficult and labour-intensive.
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http://www.naturalfibres2009.org



Nature Fiber - Jute 黄麻


Jute is extracted from the bark of the white jute plant, Corchorus capsularis, and to lesser extent from tossa jute ( Corchorus olitorius ). It florishes in the tropical lowland areas with humidity of 60% to 90%.
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During the Industrial Revolution, jute yarn largely replaced flax and hemp fiber in sackcloth. Today, sacking still makes up the bulk of manufactured jute products.
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Jute yarn and twines are also woven into curtains, chair coverings, carpets, rugs and backing for linoleum. Blended with other fibers, it is used in cushion covers, toys, wall hangings, lamp shades and shoes. Very fine threads can be separated out and made into imitation silk.

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Jute is being used increasingly in rigid packaging and reinforced plastic and is replacing wood in pulp and paper.

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Geotextiles made from jute are biodegradable, flexible, absorb moisture and drain well. They are used to prevent soil erosion and landslides.
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Bangladesh and West Bengal in India are the world’s main jute producers.
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http://www.naturalfibres2009.org

Nature Fiber - Hemp 大麻



Hemp fiber is obtained from the bast of the plant Cannabis sativa. It grows easily to a height of 4m, without agrochemicals and captures large quantities of carbon.
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However, production of hemp is restricted in some countries, where the plant is confused with marijuana
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Hemp has been used for centuries to make rope, canvas and paper. Long hemp fibers can be spun and woven to make crisp, linen-like fabric used in clothing, home furnishing textiles and floor coverings.
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In China, hemp is degummed for processing on flax or cotton machinery. Blending with cotton, linen, silk and wool gives hemp a softer feel, while adding resistance and durability to the product.
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In Europe, hemp fibers are used mainly in the paper industry. Due to lower lignin content, it can be pulped using fewer chemicals than wood.
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Hemp fibers are also used to reinforce moulded thermoplastic in the automobile industry. The short core fibers go into insulation products, fiberboard and erosion control mats, while the fibrous core can be blended with lime to make strong, lightweight concrete.
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The world’s leading producer of hemp is China, with smaller production in Europe, Chile and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
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http://www.naturalfibres2009.org

Nature Fiber - Flax 亚麻


Flax fibers obtained from the stems of the plant Linum usitatissimum are used mainly to make linen. It grows best at northern temperate latitudes, where moderately moist summers yield fine, strong but silky flax.
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Fine and regular long flax fibers are spun into yarns for linen textiles. More than 70% of linen goes to clothing manufacture, where it is valued for its exceptional coolness in hot weather.
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Linen fabric maintains a strong traditional niche among high quality household textiles – bed linen, furnishing fabrics, and interior decoration accessories.
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Shorter flax fibers produce heavier yarns suitable for kitchen towels, sails, tents and canvas. Lower fiber grades are use as reinforcement an filler in thermoplastic composites and thermoset resins used in automotive interior substrates, furniture, and other consumer products.
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The leading producers of flax fiber are France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Other significant producers are China, Belarus and the Russian Federation.
In 2007, the European Union produced 122,000 tonnes of flax fiber, making it the world’s biggest producer, followed by China with about 25,000 tonnes.
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Nature Fiber - Cotton 棉花



The cotton fiber grows on the seed of a variety of plants of the genus Gossypium. Of the 4 cotton species cultivated for fiber, the most important are G. hirsutum, which originated in Mexico and produces 90% of the world’s cotton ; and G. barbadense, of Peruvian origin.

An estimated 60% of cotton fiber is used as yarn and threads in a wide range of clothing, most notably in shirts, t-shirts and jeans, but also in coats, jackets, underwear and foundation garments.

Cotton is also used to make home furnishing, such as draperies, bedspread and window blinds, and is the most commonly used fiber in sheets, pillowcases, towels and washcloths.


It is made into specialty material suitable for a great variety of application : fire-proof apparel, cotton wool, compresses, gauze bandages, sanitary towels and cotton swabs. Industrial products containing cotton include bookbindings, industrial thread and tarpaulins.



Cultivated in around 80 countries, cotton is one of the world’s most widely produced crops and uses about 2.5% of the world’s arable land area. The world produces around 25 million tones of cotton every year. Six countries : China, Brazil, India, Pakistan, the USA, and Uzbekistan, account for more than 80% of total production.
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http://www.naturalfibres2009.org


Nature Fiber - Coir 椰壳纤维




Coir is extracted from the tissues surrounding the seed of the coconut palm ( Cocos nucifera ). There are two types of coir : brown fiber, which is obtained from mature coconuts ; and white fiber, which is extracted from immature green coconuts after soaking for up to 10 months.

White coir spun into yarn is used in the manufacture of rope and fishing nets. Brown coir is used in sacking, brushes, doormats, rugs, mattresses, insulation panels and packaging. In Europe, the automobile industry upholsters cars with pads of brown coir bonded with rubber latex.

Geotextiles made from coir mesh are durable, absorb water, resist sunlight, facilitate seed germination and are 100% biodegradable.


Coir peat, a residue of milling, is gaining importance as mulch, soil treatment and a hydroponic growth medium.


Globally, about 500,000 tonnes of coir are produced annually, mainly in India and Sri Lanka, followed by Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia.
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http://www.naturalfibres2009.org

Nature Fiber - Abaca 蕉麻





Also called manila hemp, abaca is extracted from the leaf sheath around the trunk of abaca plant ( Musa textilis ), a close relative of the banana, native to the Philippines and widely distributed in the humid tropics.

During the 19th century, abaca was widely used for ships’ rigging, and pulped to make sturdy manila envelopes. Today, it is still used to make ropes, twines, fishing lines and nets, as well as coarse cloth for sacking. There is also a flourishing niche market for abaca clothing, curtains, screens and furnishings.

Paper made from abaca pulp is used in stencil papers, cigarette filters papers, tea-bags and sausage skins, and also in currency paper ( Japan’s yen banknotes contain up to 30% abaca )

Mercedes Benz has used a mixture of polypropylene thermoplastic and abaca yarn in automobile body parts. Production of abaca fiber uses an estimated 60% less energy than production of glassfiber.



The world’s leading abaca producer is the Philippines, where the plant is cultivated on 130,000 hectar by some 90,000 small farmers. In 2007, the Philippines produced about 60,000 tonnes of abaca fiber. The Philippines’ closest rival is Ecuador, where abaca is grown on large estates and production is increasingly mechanized. Ecuador produced 10,000 tonnes of abaca fiber in 2007.
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Nature Fibers




Natural fibers are greatly elongated substances produced by plants and animals that can be spun into filaments, thread or rope. Woven, knitted, matted or bonded, they form fabrics that are essential to society.

Like agriculture, textiles have been a fundamental part of human life since the dawn of civilizations. While the method used to make fabrics have changed greatly since then, their functions have changed very little : today, most natural fibers are still used to make clothing and containers and to insulate, soften and decorate our living spaces. Increasingly, however, traditional textiles are being used for industrial purposed as well as in components of composite materials, in medical implants, and geo- and agro-textiles.

Plant fibers include seed hairs, such as cotton; stem fibers, such as flax and hemp; leaf fiber, such as sisal; and husk fibers, such as coconut.

Animal fibers include wool, hair and secretions, such as silk.
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http://www.naturalfibres2009.org


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