Textile plants, what they are and what can be achieved

Textile plants, what they are and what can be achieved

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Cotton, linen, hemp, jute and other cellulosic fiber plants make up the textile plants, or useful sources capable of producing fabrics that can in turn be used to create knitted fabrics and yarns intended for the production of fabrics.

The textile industry has in fact created a huge variety of products available for use in clothing, furniture, industrial and special applications. These products are manufactured starting from natural resources like - in fact - plants (but not only, think of synthetic compounds), and precisely the textile plants they constitute, in this sense, one of the most ancient sources of manufacture.

For example, in ancient Egypt the plant of linen it was widely cultivated and transformed into a cloth used - among other things - to wrap mummies. Still, from India to Peru, thousands of years ago, it was cotton that was most used, whose trade as an international textile commodity began to develop a little later, when more intensive cotton production developed in China, Egypt. , India, Iraq and Africa.

In more recent history, the Industrial Revolution has had a profound effect on textile production, with greater variability in the sources used.

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Vegetable fibers and textile plants

One of the main ones sources of vegetable fibers and the cellulose coming from plants. Cellulosic fiber is found in leaves, plant stems, seed pods or fruit, as appropriate. Flax, jute and hemp are, for example, fibers taken from the stem of a plant, while cotton is an example of a seed pod. Cotton and linen are the main plant fibers. A non-cellulosic plant source is the sap of the rubber tree, which can be transformed into yarn.

Textile production from plants

The main methods of textile production from vegetable fibers are weaving and knitting.

In summary, with the weaving, the yarns are intertwined at right angles to each other: this is a method used since the ancient Egyptians, although it has since developed with various techniques over the centuries. However, the weaving was still done by hand until the machines were developed during the Industrial Revolution, when the invention of the steam loom and other machinery managed to automate the weaving process.

THE knitted fabrics instead they are formed by the continuous interweaving of one or more yarns. The knitting process was used to produce textiles as early as the first century, with knitting remaining a skill of manual work until the eighteenth century, when motorized knitting machines were developed.

The various knitting processes within the basic weft type of knit include the plain knit, the harlequin knit, the rib knit, potentially producing both by hand and by machine.


The finishes are treatments that apply to fibers, yarns or fabrics to improve its basic characteristics. The three types of finishes used are mechanical treatments, heat treatments and chemical treatments. It is common for one or more of these treatments to be applied to virtually every fabric produced.

Through the finish, the appearance of the product, the touch and the other functional characteristics such as waterproofing or protection against flames are changed. Brushes, rollers and hammers can be used in mechanical treatments, depending on the final result to be obtained.

Among the main thermal treatments of fibers, we can, for example, mention the thermal hardening of the thermoplastic material: chemicals such as acids, bases, bleaches, polymers and reactive resins are used to chemically modify the characteristics of a material.

The aesthetic finishes, as the name of the process suggests, affect the aesthetics of the fabric, including bleaching, brushing and cutting, calendering, carbonization, decanting, fulling, glazing, mercerization, and more.

Finally, the functional finishes make the fabrics resistant to abrasion, antibacterial, stain-resistant, antistatic, fire-retardant, shrink-resistant, waterproof, water-repellent or wrinkle-resistant.

Fabric design

As for the main elements of the fabric design, such are the visual (as it appears) and tactile (as it feels) aspects. Solid colors or shades of black, white and other colors can be applied in an infinite combination of patterns and designs.

The feel of the fabric can naturally be varied depending on the type of yarn used, the manufacturing method, how the color design is applied and the types of finishes used. Dyeing and printing are two main methods of applying a pattern, color, or both, to a fabric. Dyes can be applied to fibers, yarns or fabrics.

Textile plants in the industrial sector

L'textile industry it is dynamic, with new processes, techniques and methods that are in constant development, and which end up modifying, innovating and varying the usability of textile plants.

The idea of ​​evolution and change can be applied to all sectors of the industry, such as the development of raw materials and fibers, yarn production technique, manufacturing method, finishing technology and printing processes, dyeing and design. The primary objective of all research and development activities is of course to sell a product that is attractive to consumers.

In this context, despite the new synthetic materials, it is believed that textile plants will continue to play a key role in the best results in this sector. All that remains is to see how, over the next few years, vegetable fibers will be further used for higher quality products.

Video: Journey of Cotton from Farm to Fabric (May 2022).