EEB202H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 17: Bast Fibre, Cannabis Sativa, Natural Fiber

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Published on 17 Jan 2018
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FIBER
the material from which we make textiles
we make use of different types of fiber:
o animal fibers (wool and silk)
o plant fibers
o synthetic fibers (even some of these are based on plant cells)
the cell wall gives plant cells their structure, without having a skeleton
fiber cells in a plant are long, tapering, with thick secondary cell walls
two important components of fiber:
o cellulose: the main component of cell walls; gives primary call walls their
strength
o lignin: a complex compound that gives additional strength and structure
the most abundant component of wood
Plant Fibers:
o surface fibers: fibers found on the outside of seeds, leaves, or fruit
example: cotton
King Cotton is the World's most popular natural fiber (over 50% of
textiles)
about 20-30 species in this genus
as the flower dries and dies, it makes a little bulb, which then is
cracked open, revealing the cotton boll
fiber is 90% cellulose
extracted through ginning: seeds are grounded and separated from their
fibers
o bast or soft fibers: long stringy fibers collected from plant stems
extracted through retting: stems left in some place where they can rot and
be broken down by microbes, leaving the fibers
Ramie: perennial shrub in the nettle family
cultivated for centuries in many Asian countries
8 times stronger than cotton
some of the longest fibers
plant can be brittle
Jute: annual plant in the mallow family like cotton
fibers are difficult to bleach; natural colours
used for burlap, rope, wall coverings, etc
90% of world's supply from Bangladesh and India
Hemp: Cannabis sativa
fibers primarily used for industrial fabrics (canvas)
original jeans (Levi Strauss) used hemp
imported from France
does not require water or pesticide inputs compared to
cotton
crop is legal in Canada; illegal in the US
o hard fibers or leaf fibers: collected from plant leaves
usually from plants with long thick leaves
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