This post from Hosho is on the interesting topic of bamboo fiber based textiles – their benefits, current status and future trends.
What are Bamboo based textiles?
Bamboo textiles are cloth,yarn and clothing made out of bamboo fiber. Bamboo fiber is a kind of regenerated cellulose fiber, which is produced from raw materials of bamboo pulp. Technologies have been developed allowing bamboo fibre to be used in a wide range of textile and fashion applications.
What are the key benefits of bamboo based textiles?
- Softer than cotton, with a texture similar to a blend of cashmere and silk.
- Cross-section of the fiber is filled with various micro-gaps and micro-holes, it has much better moisture absorption and ventilation. Moisture absorbency is twice than that of cotton with extraordinary soil release.
- Garment of bamboo fiber can absorb and evaporate human sweat in a split of second just like breathing. Such a garment makes people feel extremely cool, comfortable and never sticking to skin even in hot summer.
- 100% bamboo yarns show a great elasticity i.e. nearly 20%. Even in 100% bamboo woven fabrics a remarkable elasticity can be obtained wherein the use of elastomeric fibers like elastanes may be eliminated.
- Bamboo fabrics need less dyestuff than cotton, modal or viscose. It seems that the absorption of dyestuffs is remarkably better. Bamboo absorbs the dyestuff faster and shows the colors better.
- Anti-ultraviolet nature of bamboo fiber has made it suitable for summer clothing, especially for the protection of pregnant ladies and children from the effect of ultraviolet radiation.
- Product of bamboo fiber is Eco-friendly and bio-degradable.
How exactly are bamboo based textiles made?
Bamboo textiles are cloth,yarn and clothing made out of bamboo fiber. Bamboo fiber is a kind of regenerated cellulose fiber, which is produced from raw materials of bamboo pulp.Firstly, bamboo pulp is refined from bamboo through a process of hydrolysis-alkalisation and multi-phase bleaching and then processed into bamboo fiber. Repeated test has proved that it has a strong durability, stability and tenacity.
Furthermore, it owns high abrasion-proof capacity. Bamboo fiber can be spun purely or blended with other materials such as cotton, hemp, silk, Lyocell (Tencel), etc., And the thinness and whiteness degree of bamboo fiber is similar to classic viscose.
How are bamboo-based textiles different from textiles from other conventional natural fibers such as cotton and jute?
Bamboo comes with so many wonderful advantages as a material. The main advantages of bamboo are its fast renewability, its biodegradability, its efficient space consumption, its low water use and its organic status.It is an excellent fabric choice. It is a light, strong fabric that requires less dye than cotton and jute. The color of bamboo fabric as opposed to cotton is also described as much more vivid. The fabric can be used in many ways from being woven to being knit.
Bamboo fiber has an unique antibacterial quality due to an antimicrobial bio-agent called “bamboo kun” which is found naturally in the fiber. This kun makes bamboo a naturally antibacterial, antifungal and odor resistant fiber, through multiple washings. Other conventional natural fibers does not have anything like this.
What are the various applications and end use segments for bamboo based textiles?
Below are the list of applications and end use segment for bamboo based textiles:
- Due to its anti-bacterial nature, non-woven fabric has wide prospects in the field of hygiene materials such as sanitary napkin, masks, mattress,food-packing,bags.
- Sanitary materials: bandage, mask, surgical clothes, nurses wears and so on. It has incomparably wide foreground on application in sanitary material such as sanitary towel, gauze mask, absorbent pads, and food packing.
- Intimate apparels include sweaters, bath-suits, underwear, tight t-shirt, socks.
- Decorating items: curtain, television cover, wall-paper and sofa slipcover.
- Bathroom products: towel and bath robe.
What are the key challenges with bamboo based textiles?
- Cost: Bamboo based textiles costs 30-40% higher than Cotton because of its low production quantity.
- Public Awareness: Due to development of cheaper synthetic polymers leads to consumer disinterest in Eco textiles. There should be increased yet clarified public awareness in the subject of sustainable textiles.
- Fast fashion: One of the biggest challenges faced by bamboo textiles is the advent of ‘fast fashion’. That is, there are increasingly short leading times for new clothing textiles to reach the consumer market and increasingly short shelf lives of new clothing textiles. This undermines entire system of a sustainable bamboo textile industry.
- Lack of Regulations: The current lack of regulations governing both growth and processing of bamboo has resulted in a lack of clarity and mis-reporting of facts about bamboo, which has helped to both elevate and undermine Bamboo as a sustainable fabric.
What are the emerging trends and future possibilities for bamboo based textiles?
With the bamboo fiber having a number of advantages, one can expect the industry to develop new, value-added products from bamboo in future.
In this context, there is an increasing demand for functional fiber products.
With new spinning technologies achieving significant progress in recent years, it is now possible to make bamboo fiber tough enough to withstand abrasion and be able to satisfy relatively rigorous end user requirements.
Bamboo fiber can instantly absorb and evaporate large amounts of water, which gives it excellent moisture properties. This can lead to some interesting textile end uses in future.
Similarly, its natural antibacterial properties can also lend themselves to some interesting end use applications/textile products in the near future.