Bamboo textiles are cloth, yarn, and clothing made out of bamboo fibres. While historically used only for structural elements, such as bustles and the ribs of corsets, in recent years a range of technologies have been developed allowing bamboo fibre to be used in a wide range of textile and fashion applications. Modern bamboo clothing is clothing made from either 100% bamboo yarn or a blend of bamboo and cotton yarn. The bamboo yarn can also be blended with other textile fibres such as hemp or even spandex.
In China and Japan, thin strips of bamboo were woven together into hats and shoes. One particular design of bamboo hats was associated with rural life, being worn almost universally by farmers and fishermen in order to protect their heads from the sunAn 1881 bustle design.
In the West, bamboo, alongside other components such as whalebone and steel wire, was sometimes used as a structural component in corsets, bustles and other types of structural elements used in fashionable women's dresses.
Manufacture of bamboo viscose
Recent technologies have allowed cellulose processed from bamboo to be spun into viscose yarn.Modern bamboo yarn is therefore a regenerated cellulose fibre. One such technology was filed in 2003 as US patent 7313906 by inventors Xiangqi Zhou, Zheng Liu, Liming Liu, and Hao Geng developed one such method of turning bamboo into yarn, creating new uses for bamboo in clothing.
The steps in the manufacturing of bamboo viscose are as follows:
1) Bamboo leaves and the soft, inner pith from the hard bamboo trunk are extracted using a steaming process and then mechanically crushed
2) The crushed bamboo is soaked in sodium hydroxide to produce cellulose. A common misconception is that sodium hydroxide is a harmful chemical. If used in a responsible manner sodium hydroxide has little known effect on the environment and health of workers. It is routinely used in the processing of organic cotton into fibre and is approved by the Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) and the Soil Association.Sodium hydroxide does not remain as a residue on clothing as it easily washes away and can be neutralised to harmless and non-toxic sodium sulphate salt. A chemical used in this step that can cause nervous system damage with chronic exposure is carbon disulfide.If handled properly there are no negative side effects for humans and environment as sulphur containing by products can easily be transformed into sulphuric acid which is needed for the spinning process.
3) The bamboo cellulose is forced through spinneret nozzles (like a sieve) into a sulphuric acid bath that hardens the solution into viscose fibre threads and neutralizes the caustic sodium hydroxide to form Glauber's salt, sodium sulphate, which is used e.g. as a filler in lessive detergents. The process is the standard viscose process. This process is also used to manufacture fibres from wood pulp.
4) The fibre threads are spun into viscose yarn and rolled onto spools. According to textile classification so called bamboo is standard viscose, abbreviation CV. It has no advantages with respect to standard viscose made from wood pulp like e.g. beech or eucalyptus.
The processing of the cellulose pulp into fibre "can" be cleaner than the processing used for conventional viscose "if" a closed loop process captures and reclaims all the solvents used in the manufacturing, though this is "not" standard practice.New processes stress enviromental purity and is under constant observation to confirm non pollution. The resulting bamboo viscose fibre is very soft to the touch.
Source of raw material
Most of the bamboo used to make bamboo fibre and bamboo clothing is grown in China by Hebei Jigao Chemical Fiber Company.They hold the patent on the process for turning bamboo into fibre. This facility produces all of the bamboo viscose on the market. The bamboo is certified organic by OCIA (The Organic Crop Improvement Association). To strictly control the quality of raw material, Hebei Jigao Chemical Fiber Company has built its own bamboo plantation in Sichuan Province, China, and keeps strict control over it. The bamboo is grown in accordance to the international organic standard of OCIA/IFOAM and the USDA National Organic Program, so as to ensure each bamboo stalk is of 100% natural growth and without any chemical pesticides. The proof of the ecologically sound methods behind bamboo production is the fact that all of the fibre produced at the facility in China is Oeko-Tex 100 certified.This certifies that the finished fibre has been tested for any chemicals that may be harmful to a personâ€™s health and has been found to contain no trace chemicals that pose any health threat whatsoever. This means that every company working with bamboo starts with the same raw material and that this material is not contaminated.