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Prospects of bamboo fibre in textile

Sep 01, 2016
Prospects of bamboo fibre in textile

Prospects of bamboo application in textiles cover a wide area and it has tremendous scope for the textile and apparel segments, opine P Senthilkumar, AN Sai Krishnan and C Prabakaran.

Application of textiles covers the entire spectrum of day to day clothing to the functional textiles. Application of new fibres in textiles will be prerequisite for the manufactures to diversify the product. Cellulose are produced from a renewable resource that is pulp from the trees which can be cultivated on the land. Cellulose offers wider variety like comfort, water absorbency. Bamboo is a regenerated cellulosic fibre made from bamboo stalks one of the fastest growing plants reaching maturity in the minimum years. The manufacturing process is very similar to viscose but the polymerisations by electrolytic process. It is a biodegradable textile material, degrades 100 per cent in soil by microorganisms and sunshine. The decomposition process does not cause any pollution to the environment. It has unique anti bacteria agent named “bamboo kum”, which has a natural function of anti bacterial and deodorisation effect. The cross section of the bamboo fibre is filled with various micro holes it has much better absorption and ventilation. It has an unparalleled micro capillary structure which can absorb and evaporate human sweats in a few seconds. It has an inherent softness and gives delicate touch to the wearer.

The main objective of the authors work is to highlight the prospects of using bamboo fibre in textile and apparel segment. By 2015, the Indian bamboo industry is estimated to grow into a $5.7 billion sector as against $574 million in 2000, a 10-fold increase provided all the factors are favourable and all stakeholders from farmers to manufactures in the entire segment will get benefited.

The commercial consumption of bamboo in globally is worth of around $10 billion, which is expected to reach $20 billion by 2015. To make bamboo cultivation more attractive for farmers, the agriculture ministry has been pressing the government for declaring it a horticulture crop. Once India makes it attractive for farmers to grow bamboo as a cash crop and sets up the infrastructure to tap its commercial potential through value addition, the country would be well placed to build upon its rich biodiversity of 136 bamboo species.

Properties of bamboo fibre

The Table 1 shows the key physical properties of bamboo fibre of fineness 1.67 dtex. The density of bamboo fibre is less when compare to cotton which helps in making the light weight textile material. However the dry tensile strength and wet strength show low value, it requires a special care at the different stage of processing the material, the absorbency is higher which will be good for the absorbent textiles and sportswear garments.

Physical parameters of yarn

Bamboo fibre can be spin in both ring spinning and compact spinning system the table 2 shows the details of linear density and staple length of bamboo fibre.

The range of yarn count spin in the ring spinning system is 8 to 50 Ne and in the compact yarn spinning system 16-44 Ne. Bamboo is having good blending compatibility and easily blends with cotton, modal and polyester. The yarn with different blend composition is also possible. Bamboo yarn production is similar to staple fibre viscose yarn production. It will be better to increase the humidity during spinning process. The reduction of yarn hairiness and improvement of yarn strength can be noticed in the compact yarn spinning system; The Table 3 below shows the physical parameters of bamboo yarn of 30 Ne ring spun yarn.

It shows the single yarn strength is less, to meet the weaving requirement the twist coefficient should be higher. Improving twist coefficient will have better fibre cohesion and reduce the floss on yarn surface and also improves the yarn tensile strength. Since the percentage of elongation is higher it is better to do the sizing and warping in low tension and lower speed. The yarn imperfection is comparatively less bamboo yarn won’t exhibit much problem in the fabric production stages.

Steps to be taken in processing of bamboo textiles

  • Pretreatment: The surface of the bamboo fabric is having a floss the light gas singeing can be done to avoid unevenness or color fading in the fabric.
  • Desizing: The enzyme desizing can be done to remove the size.
  • Mercerisation: Naturally bamboo fabric has good absorbency characteristics; mercerisation can increase brightness of the dyed fabric and enhance the aesthetic appeal of the garment.
  • Scouring and bleaching: Natural appearance of bamboo fibre is similar to viscose thus bleaching improves it whiteness. For the blends of bamboo, bleaching is essentially to have better homogeneity in dye take up.
  • Dyeing: Bamboo fibre is sensitive to both acid and alkali, it has low tensile strength. The dyeing processing can be carried out using reactive dye. Reactive dye can react better with bamboo fibre molecules under weak alkali condition.
  • Finishing: Normally intermittent drying should be applied through single cylinder. Softening process will also improve good feel of the fabric.

Prospects of bamboo fibre in textile applications

Medical textiles: Health care and hygienic textiles are a key area in medical textiles. There are wide ranges of products available in health care and hygiene textiles like surgical mask, surgical caps, and absorbent textiles. The absorbent textiles are used in incontinence products, baby diapers. Since bamboo have excellent softness, soft surface feel and good absorbency and dry fast. The usage in hygiene textiles provides an opportunity for the personalised health care segment in medical textiles. Since bamboo has good antimicrobial characteristics it is suitable for bandages used for wound healings.

Home textiles: Home textile is an important segment of textiles value chain; it covers products like table cloth, towel, curtains, sheets and pillow cases. Presently towels are made from cotton and blends of cotton. Since Bamboo has excellent characteristics to absorb moisture from the wet skin it also posses light weight, softness and dry fast. Towels made from bamboo blends will be suitable.

Bamboo fibre has good absorption of ultraviolet radiation and having excellent ultra protection factor. Curtains made from bamboo woven fabric can absorb ultraviolet radiation in various wave lengths and are suitable in the household’s articles.

Socks and foundation apparels: Micro organism such as bacteria, fungi, algae developed from the sources of air, soil makes ideal condition for microbial growth. Presently tremendous development taking place in antimicrobial finish. Bamboo fibre has an anti-bacterial properties which inhibit body odour and control microorganism It provides the platform for socks and intimate apparel manufacturer to explore in sports apparel, underwear and intimate apparel segment for usage of bamboo clothing Nonwoven: Nonwoven is the fastest way of production technique having tremendous potential in medical and hygienic textile. Absorbency characteristics of bamboo fabric are suitable for diapers and napkins in disposable market segment.

Sports garments: Since the consumption of textile fibres and fabric in sportswear is increasing day by day because of the strong rise in participation of young male and female professional in indoor and outdoor sporting activities. It has been forecasted by the year 2010 the requirement of textile material for sports is 1,382,000 tonnes eventually there is a strong demand in this segment. Presently sportswear brings tremendous attention to the manufacturer. At present many products are made in an intrinsic way to meet the specific requirement for the different sporting activities. Demand of sports apparel needed important properties like moisture management and good moisture vapor transmission rate.

Diffusion is an important property related to moisture management. Diffusion relates how fast the amount of water or sweat spread on the fabric. Bamboo fabric shows a faster spread of water on the fabric which will be very good to design sportswear garments. The rate of water loss in the bamboo clothing is faster which will provide cooler feel in the hot condition. Since the textile material acting next to the wearer skin, continuous innovation of new fibres like bamboo in product design will improve the performance requirement and contribute successful future in sportswear market.

Sport footwear: Functional sport footwear need properties like comfort, performance, protection, support and shock absorption. The sport footwear design has an upper section, lining section and reinforced pieces between lining and upper. The lining is an important component to absorb perspiration and prevent soiling inside of the shoe and the foot. It needs to breathable and to absorb transport dampness from the foot. Bamboo lining material can be used in functional materials and components in sport footwear since it possess good moisture absorption, antibacterial characteristics and good dry fast.

Fashion garments: Fashion is an expression of creative idea from the designer; Fashion is always subject to change from season to season and also based on the perception of individual designers. Bamboo fabric can be used in designing high fashion garment by changing styles, color, design and fit. Aesthetic appealing can be enhanced by value addition like embroidery, prints and surface ornamentation. Presently the eco fabric is finding more space in the Haute couture collections. It can be targeted to full fill the fashion and functional garment requirements of all the segment of the people.

Others: Bamboo charcoal is made from high temperature the properties includes good thermal insulation, deodorisation and hygroscopicity. Bamboo charcoal powder can be blended with fibres provides as an thermal insulation for clothing in the cold climatic condition, thermal insulation socks and composites used in sporting equipment. It shows that the tensile strength of bamboo fibre have been improved by coating epoxy/PMMA blend and noticeable good chemical resistance against the acids and alkalis.

Potential of bamboo raw material

Bamboo has traditionally been used for paper manufacture, scaffolding, construction material and handicrafts. According to the report from the forest Survey of India about 12.8 per cent of total forest area is under bamboo cultivation, with the northeast region accounting for 66 per cent of the country’s bamboo resources in terms of value and 28 per cent in terms of area. The country today exploits just a tenth of its bamboo-producing potential.


Prospects of bamboo application in textiles cover wide area; it has tremendous scope for the textile and apparel segments for diversification of the products by catering to the different end uses. Key advantages of bamboo are its abundant availability, environmentally friendly and sustainable without depletion.


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The authors thankfully acknowledge the support given by the Principal and Head of the Department of Textile Technology and Apparel Technology, PSG college of Technology and Polytechnic College during the work.