What is fabric hand? Fabric hand is one of the essential parameters characterizing garments’ appearance and quality. Or, to put it in lay terms, you know that favorite t-shirt of yours that you have had for years and washed over 100 times to make it super, ultra soft? That soft touch you so love is found in bamboo clothes and bamboo blended garments without even a single washing. That my friends is exceptional fabric hand, also known as “textile hand”. And that exceptional fabric hand translates into luxuriously soft textiles for consumers including bamboo bedding.
Every year, professors, scientists, and chemists gather at symposiums around the world to discuss their latest findings in the textile industry. They compile all of their research, data and lab test results on various fibers and fabrics to share their new found knowledge and how it might impact the textile industry.
The Baltic Polymer Symposium was held in Lithuania in 2007 and was attended by well known scientists and professors from Lithuania, Germany, France, Sweden, Spain, and Poland, just to name a few. There were 115 participants from 11 countries that took part in the Symposium, presenting 9 invited, 22 oral and 75 poster presentations.
One such presentation, selected by the scientific committee, was one of several chosen to be published. This presentation was the “Influence of Bamboo Fiber on Fabric Hand” by D. Grinevičiūtė, G. Kazakevičiūtė , M. Gutauskas, R. Rimkutė, and A. Abraitienė from the Lithuanian Textile Institute, Kuanas, Lithuania and Kaunas University of Technology – Department of Clothing and Polymer Products Technology, Kaunas, Lithuania.
Not that it’s any secret as to how I feel about bamboo, but rather than putting this in my own words, I felt it best to directly quote their findings, so as to not come across as biased. We at Green Earth News are all about researching, documenting, going to the source, and reporting to you our findings so you can draw your own conclusions. Of course we have our opinions as well, but science doesn’t lie folks.
INFLUENCE OF BAMBOO FIBRE ON FABRIC HAND
The aim of this research was to perform quantitative evaluation and comparison of hand parameters of bamboo, cotton and cotton/bamboo blended fabrics of various structures and finishing. The evaluation of fabric hand was performed using method based on the principle of specimen biaxial punching deformation when a disc-shaped specimen is extracted through a round nozzle. Analysing test results into two groups of raw and finished bamboo, cotton and cotton/bamboo blended fabrics of the same structure, area density and thickness, it was established that in all cases bamboo fibre improved fabric hand. Additionally, the softeners improve hand of bamboo containing fabrics to much greater extent than hand of pure cotton fabrics. To sum up the research results, it may be concluded that hand parameters of blended fabrics can be alternated to different degree by adding bamboo fibre.
Bamboo fibre is a new regenerated cellulose fibre produced from bamboo plant. This polymeric material is characterized by its good soft feel, air permeability, antibacterial and hygroscopic properties, exceptional eco friendliness. First commercially produced in 21st century it has wide prospects in different fields of textile industry. The consumption of bamboo fibre in textile industry is constantly growing all over the world beginning from the country of its origin China and ranging to the famous textile companies in the USA and Europe. The main garments produced from bamboo fibre are T-shirts, terry towels, socks, bed linen, knitted materials for sports and leisure wear, etc. Research is carried out in the area of bamboo fibre processing, properties of textile materials and widening of the application areas. However, the majority of publications dealing with bamboo textiles are in Chinese and only a few publications are published in other languages [1-3].
Textile hand is one of the essential parameters characterizing garments’ appearance and quality. It could be expected that inclusion of bamboo fiber into textile materials made from mixed fibres can positively improve their hand. The goal of this research was to carry out quantitative evaluation and comparison of hand parameters of bamboo, cotton and cotton/bamboo blended fabrics of various structures and finishing solutions.
Experiments were carried out for two groups of cotton, bamboo and cotton/bamboo blended fabrics – raw and treated (scoured, dyed, dried). Weaving process was performed using unsized warp, bamboo fiber was inserted only in the weft system.
Evaluating the influence of softeners on different structure fabric hand, part of investigated objects was treated with industrial softeners: non-ionogenic “Viskosil PSN” (“BOME”) and cationogenic “Belfasin SI” (“COGNIS”). Textile fabrics’ treatment was performed periodically using 5 % of softener from fabric weight, modulus 1:50, temperature 40 ºC, duration – 20 min. After treatment, fabrics were squeezed and dried. In comparison, fabrics of the same structure were soaked in the pure water in the same conditions, then squeezed and dried.
Fabric hand was determined using a method based on the principle of specimen biaxial punching deformation when a disc-shaped specimen is extracted through a round nozzle. Tests were carried out using KTU – Griff – Tester fitted to universal tensile testing device . During the test, extraction curve H – P (deflection – force) was registered and on its basis primary hand parameters were determined: Pmax – maximal extraction force, tgα – initial slope angle, A – pulling work. The primary hand parameters were expressed by one numeric value – the complex hand parameter Q – area of a polygon in a polar chart [5, 6].
Results and Discussion
Analysis of the influence that the quantity of bamboo fiber had on plain weave raw fabric hand showed that hand of pure bamboo fabric (3U) was 28 %, and fabric interblended with 45 % bamboo (2U) was 15 % superior to pure cotton fabric (1U) hand (Fig. 1, a). Hand of treated twill weave cotton/bamboo fabric of the same density and similar area density varied depending on bamboo quantity: increase of bamboo fiber from 15 to 55 % led to decrease of complex hand rate Q from 20 to 28 % (Fig. 1, b).
(Basically folks, the shorter the bar, the better the fabric hand in these graphs below.)
Fig. 1. Influence of bamboo fiber on raw (a) and finished of different density and area density (b, c) fabrics’ hand
Fig. 1, c) presents a comparison of fabric hand results for pure cotton fabrics (6T, 8T, 10T) of different density and area density, and for analogous cotton/bamboo blended fabrics (7T, 9T, 11T). It can be noted that in all cases interblending fabric composition with bamboo fiber improved fabric hand from 22,0 to 41,4 %.
Analysis of influence that soaking in the water and softeners had on fabric hand showed that the decrease of complex hand rate Q of raw fabrics 1U (100 % cotton) and 3U (100 % bamboo) was unequal (Fig. 2, a). It was determined that the influence of water and softeners was more significant on bamboo fiber: Q decreased (hand improved) by 19,7 % and 45,7 % respectively. Analogous test results of finished fabrics (Fig. 2, b) revealed similar influence of water and softeners on fabric hand. Soaking in the water improved softness of both fabrics by approximately 20 %, whereas after industrial softening, hand improved up to 69,6 % (1T – 100 % cotton) and up to 82,1 % (5T – 45 % cotton, 55 % bamboo). It was noticed that absorption properties of treated fabrics are considerably significant if compared to the raw ones and this implies that softening of finished fabrics is much more efficient. To sum up the results of the present investigation, it may be stated that significant influence that softeners have on hand of fabric interblended with bamboo seems to be coherent with superior absorption properties of bamboo fiber (if compared to cotton fiber).
Fig. 2. Influence of soaking in the water and softeners on raw (a) and finished (b) fabrics’ hand. (notation: 1U, 3U, 1T, 5T – initial fabric, H2O – fabric soaked in water; B – fabric soaked in the softener “Belfasin SI”; V – fabric soaked in the softener “Viskozil PSN”)
The research results show that the influence which bamboo fiber has on fabric hand is evident: bamboo fiber in fabric composition in all cases enhances fabric hand. Comparing different composition fabrics of the same density and area density it has been noticed that bamboo blended fabrics are notably softer. Additional softness could be achieved using softeners, the efficiency of which is much more significant on blended bamboo fabrics than on those of pure cotton. Therefore, bamboo fiber can extend the assortment of natural fabricsand improve their softness and hygienic properties.
1. Results established using a method of restricted extraction for hand evaluation of pure cotton and blended cotton/bamboo fabrics show that interblending bamboo fiber into cotton fabric composition significantly improves fabrics’ hand (for investigated objects 20 – 41 %).
2. Additional softness could be achieved using softeners, the efficiency of which is much more significant (45 – 82 %) to finished as well as raw fabrics interblended with bamboo fibers, if compared to those of pure cotton.
3. Interblending bamboo fibre into cotton fabric weft gives an opportunity to increase the softness of the fabric and to extend the assortment of natural fabrics.
1. M. Ozturk, In Proceedings of 3rd International Textile, Clothing & Design Conference – Magic World of Textiles, (2006).
2. Xiangyu Xu, Yueping Wang, Xiaodan Zhang , Guangyin Jing, Dapeng Yu , Shouguo Wang, Surface and Interface Analyses, 38 (8), 1211 – 1217, (2006).
3. Zhao Bo, In The Fibre Society 2007 Spring Conference, (USA, Clemson University), (2007).
4. D. Truncytė, M. Gutauskas, Lithuanian Patent Nr. 5293, G01B 5/20, G01B 13/16, (2005).
5. D. Grinevičiūtė, M. Gutauskas, Materials Science, 10 (1), 97 – 100, (2004).
6. D. Grinevičiūtė, L. Papreckienė, M. Gutauskas, Materials Science, 12 (1), 79 – 83, (2006)