How is Bamboo Fabric made? The Art of Manufacturing Sustainable Textiles

How is Bamboo Fabric made? The Art of Manufacturing Sustainable Textiles

The bamboo plant is a chief component which is used in the manufacturing of bamboo fabrics. It is a fast-growing and long-lasting plant that can take up to 3 years to harvest. Because it is very soft to wear, bamboo textiles have been very popular among sustainable fabrics for a long time.

However, the sustainability of bamboo fabric is yet to be discussed. This is why we need to look more at its sustainability and manufacturing processes. Some bamboo clothing is produced ethically and sustainably, whereas others are produced utilizing chemical techniques.

In this article, you will get a clear idea of how is bamboo fabric made, along with details of production techniques. At last, we will define the sustainability of bamboo and its types in terms of the manufacturing techniques.

What is the Bamboo Plant?

Before you know what is bamboo fabric clothing and how it is made, you must know about the bamboo plant. The sustainability of bamboo plants reinforces the statement that bamboo clothing is eco-friendly.

what is bamboo plant?

Bamboo is the world’s fastest-growing plant.

Unlike hardwood, bamboo can be harvested after just three to five years.

It is likewise self-supporting because of its broad root foundation, which produces new shoots consistently.

This consequently reduces the requirement for advanced farming practices.

The great underground root growth additionally assists with the prevention of soil erosion and improves the water-holding limit of the watershed. Bamboo can be developed without the utilization of pesticides and composts.

In view of its enormous biomass above and below the ground, bamboo retains more amount of carbon than hardwood trees. Besides, it produces up to 35% more oxygen when compared with hardwood.

What is the Manufacturing Process for Bamboo fabric?

After knowing what the bamboo plant itself is, let’s discuss how is bamboo fabric made. Bamboo clothing is made by a number of methods, depending on the kind of fabric.

Bamboo viscose is a common type of bamboo fabric that is produced globally. It is relatively cheap to create but has environmental downsides and occupational hazards.

The term viscose refers to any fabric made utilizing the viscose method, which was first used in the early twentieth century.

This fabric is a newer variety of rayon fabric, which is a semi-synthetic fabric designed to follow the characteristics of silk.

Bamboo Viscose Manufacturing

One of the most common methods of manufacturing bamboo fabric involves the use of hydrolysis, alkalization, and bleaching. This is the most popular method for manufacturing regenerated bamboo fibers.

The leaves and the softer inner pith of the bamboo trunk are removed and crushed at the start of this procedure.

The crushed bamboo cellulose is then steeped for up to three hours at a temperature of around 25°C in a 15-20% solution of sodium hydroxide to produce alkali cellulose.

Before being crushed with a grinder and dried for 24 hours, the cellulose is pressed to remove any excess solution. A small amount of carbon disulfide is added to sulfurize the alkali cellulose and convert it to gel.

The mixture is then diluted with sodium hydroxide to dissolve the sodium xanthogenate and produce a viscous solution.

Post Viscous Solution Manufacturing

This solution is normally 5% sodium hydroxide and about 15% bamboo fiber cellulose. This thick bamboo cellulose is constrained through a spinneret and is held in a container of diluted sulfuric acid.

Here, it hardens and is changed once more into cellulose fibers. These are spun into yarn and afterward woven into a recovered bamboo fabric.

The bamboo viscose strategy is utilized to create more bamboo fabrics at once since it is less costly.

Nonetheless, involving synthetics in the process has natural outcomes and drawbacks. Fabrics made utilizing this technique likewise produce a lot of waste.

Notwithstanding, this waste can be taken care of reasonably if appropriate manufacturing strategies are followed.

Production of Lyocell Type Bamboo Fabric

Bamboo cellulose can also be produced using a closed-loop manufacturing technology. Closed-loop rayon manufacturing does not chemically affect the structure of the cellulose utilized, resulting in a completely organic fabric.

This is something you won’t get when bamboo viscose is manufactured. The solvents used in closed-loop rayon manufacturing can be reused several times, significantly lowering the environmental impact.

The Mercerization Method

A non-cellulose extraction process makes the highest quality bamboo cloth. Before they are cleaned and spun into yarn, crushed bamboo fibers are treated with a natural enzyme.

This yarn has a silky texture, and the fabric made using this approach is known as bamboo linen. The mercerization process follows green manufacturing, and the end resulting fabric is durable.

However, this mechanical technique still needs to be used more to manufacture bamboo fabrics. Although, if you want to buy sustainable bamboo fabric, make sure it is made mechanically. 

Updated and Improved Bamboo Fabric Production

Keeping environmental aspects in mind, some bamboo clothing brands have started to synthesize bamboo fibers using more eco-friendly techniques chemically.

The process for making lyocells from wood cellulose might be modified to use bamboo cellulose.

Aside from using fewer toxic chemicals, bamboo may be processed in a closed-loop method where 99.5% of the chemicals are captured and recovered for reuse. The lyocell technique is also used to make Tencel, a fabric used by Patagonia and others.

Global Production of Bamboo Fabric?

Civilizations in India and China have been producing this material for many years. In rural India, bamboo festivals are held annually as a celebration of this sustainable plant.

Because of the relative environmental sustainability of farming this kind of wood, bamboo production has expanded worldwide.

Moreover, bamboo is now a common plant in Western nations such as the United States and Europe.

As it can be grown in different temperatures, we can see an increase in its production. Hence, almost every semi-developed or developed country in the world produces or exports bamboo fabric.

Which Manufacturing Process Ensures the Sustainability of Bamboo Fabric?

A majority of experts say that the sustainability of bamboo, in most cases, is directly linked with the plant itself rather than the manufacturing process.

Bamboo is known for its fast growth as compared to other trees. Now that you completely know how is bamboo fabric made, you must also know which of the processes is sustainable.

Only the bamboo textiles that are produced mechanically may be deemed totally sustainable.

In recent times, many global brands are looking to reduce their carbon footprint and are likewise adopting ways to provide a safe working environment. This is why they are also looking to make their bamboo fabric production as ethical as it can be.

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