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PLANT AND SOCIETY. ESTELLE LEVETIN & KAREN MCMAHON Chapter 18. CLOTH MAKING. Plant fibers Fibers used to wave cloths-Textile fibres Cordage fibers Filling fibres Animal fibres (wool, silk) protein Plant fibres cellulose. Surface fibres on covering of seed, leaves or fruits

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plant and society



Chapter 18

cloth making
  • Plant fibers
  • Fibers used to wave cloths-Textile fibres
  • Cordage fibers
  • Filling fibres
  • Animal fibres (wool, silk) protein
  • Plant fibres cellulose
Surface fibres on covering of seed, leaves or fruits
  • Linen are soft fibres or bast fibres (dicot trees)
  • Hard fibre from vascular bundles in veins (both xylem and phloem)
  • Monocot leaves source of hard fibres (Manila Hemp)
  • Hard fibres have high lignin than soft fibres
extracting fibres
Extracting Fibres
  • Fibres separated from source material through Ginning
  • Soft fibres extracted from stem through Retting
  • Degradation of soft tissues through microbial action, leaving tough fibres strand intact and freed
  • Decortication-Unwanted tissues scraped away by hand or machine for hard fibres
spinning into yarn
Spinning into yarn
  • Fibres freed from source then cleaned
  • Fibres are combined and laid parallel to each other to form a strand
  • Strand stretched or pulled with fingers and individual strands are twisted together to form thread
  • Spindle made spinning easier
  • Rotation of spindle that twists and holds the fibres together forming a yarn
  • Arab introduced cotton to Muslim Spain
  • Qutn
  • Top cotton producing country China
  • United States, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Brazil
the cotton plant
  • Most popular natural fiber accounting for half of world’s textiles
  • Cloth made from seed fibres from Gossypium sp.
  • Malvaceae
  • 20-30 species in genus Gossypium native to parts of Asia, Africa and Central America
Cotton is shrubby plant with palmately lobed leaves
  • Most species perennial
  • Grows best in warm climate
  • Flower color from white to purple
  • Fruit is capsule (commercially called ball) when open splits along five seams, revealing white mass of fibres
In cotton plant, fibres are hairs that extend extending from seed coat of each of 10 or so seeds in every fruit
  • 20,000 seed hairs may grow from single seed
  • Each cottonseed hair (actually a single seed coat cell) is twisted, hollow strand of cellulose upto 7.62cm (3 inches) in length and flattens at maturity
Seed hairs may be
  • Lint or staples (long, slender fibres)
  • Linters (shorter, fuzzy hairs)
  • High quality cotton from longest of lint
  • Purity of cotton cellulose (90 %) and natural twist make cotton excellent fibre for spinning into yarn
cotton gin
Cotton Gin
  • Cotton balls mature 50-80 days after fertilization
  • Defoliants sprayed, leaving only bolls for picking
  • Machine process
  • Harvested bolls or fibres sent to a gin
  • During ginning lint is removed from seed
old and new varieties of cotton
Old and New Varieties of cotton
  • Commercially new important sp. are G. hirsutum and G. barbadense
  • G. arboreum and G. herbaceum old varieties
Saw gin a roller studded with spikes covered by metal mesh
  • Spikes draw in lint but seeds do not pass through mesh and left behind
  • Whitney’s Gin separates cotton fibers from seed much quickly
  • Whitney’s Gin produce 50 pounds (22.5kg) of cotton fibres per day
Cotton seeds source of cottonseed oil
  • Ginning fibres packed into large bales

and graded for quality

  • Graded bales shipped to yarn or cloth manufacturers
  • Lint is straightened, sorted into parallel bundles of similar size in preparation for spinning into yarn
finishing and sizing
Finishing and Sizing
  • May alter the appearance and modify function of textile
  • Plant fibres bleached to remove natural color
  • Bleaching may involve soaking into sour milk or cow’s dung
  • A bath in buttermilk followed
  • After washing cloth spread on grass until exposure to sun bleached it white
Macerization, finishing process improves strength, luster and affinity for dyes
  • Cotton macerization involves passing cotton through caustic soda (NaOH)
  • Permanent press involves shape-retentive finish
  • Cellulose fibres like cotton wrinkle and crush easily
  • Chemicals applied that cross-link cellulose fibres giving built-in-memory , shape of garment retained even after laundering, ironing
bio engineered cotton
Bio-engineered Cotton
  • Bollgard trade name for transgenic cotton
  • Incorporation of toxin producing genes from Bacillus thurigiensis
  • Bt toxin effective insecticide against three

particularly noxious pest of cotton-cotton bollworm , pink bollworm, tobacco budworm

Agracetus-biotech company
  • Working on transgenic cotton plants that combine breathability and feel of cotton cloth with low-maintenance and heat-retaining properties of polyester
  • Created transgenic cotton plant that fill the hollow middle of cellulose seed hairs with small amount of polyester material