Bamboo fibre is a natural textile made from the pulp of the bamboo grass. Fabric made with Bamboo fibre has been growing in popularity, because it has many unique properties and is more sustainable than most textile fibres. Bamboo fabric is light and strong, has excellent wicking properties, and is to some extent antibacterial. The use of bamboo fibre for clothing was a 20th century development, pioneered by several Chinese corporations. This review article summarizes the production process and wet processing of Bamboo fibre. The various advantageous properties and commercial products based on these unique properties are discussed. Some attention has been paid to the current fashion trends of Bamboo materials.

Keywords: Bamboo fibre, Bamboo products, Fibre production, Green & biodegradable, Natural anti-bacteria

1. Introduction

Bamboo is the fastest growing plant in this planet and has the ability to grow in many different climates, from jungles to high on mountainsides. Bamboo is just a grass, but varies in height from dwarf plant (30cm) to giant timber Bamboos (30m). Bamboo is used as the primary construction material and for making great variety of useful objects from kitchen tools to paper to dinnerware. Generally bamboos are commonly used for furniture, construction, musical instruments and many more things. Bamboo is not only highly fashionable for decorative purposes but useful too. As it is a viable replacement for wood, in far Eastern countries, it is the primary building material. Bamboo is in fact one of the strongest building materials available and even provided the first re-greening in Hiroshima after the atomic blast in 1945. The various advantage lies with bamboo has evolved it as a suitable textile grade material.

Bamboo fibre and starchy pulps are made from bamboo that grows widely through Asian countries. Starchy pulp is a refined product of Bamboo stems and leaves through a process of hydrolysis-alkalization & multi-phase bleaching and then process in chemical fibre factories into Bamboo fibre. Fabrics made of bamboo fibres have been growing in popularity, because it has many unique properties and is more sustainable than most textile fibres. Bamboo fabric is light & strong and has excellent wicking properties. Bamboo fabric is very soft and can be worn directly next to the skin. Many people who experience allergic reactions to other natural fibres, such as wool or hemp, do not complain of this issue with Bamboo. The fibre is naturally smooth and round without chemical treatment, meaning that there are no sharp spurs to irritate the skin. Bamboo fabric is favoured by companies trying to use sustainable textiles, because the Bamboo plant is very quick growing and does not usually require the use of pesticides and herbicides to thrive. As a result, plantations can easily be kept organic and replanted yearly to replenish stocks. The process of making unbleached Bamboo fibre is very light on chemicals that could potentially harm the environment. Bamboo is highly water absorbent & takes up three times its weight in water. In Bamboo fabric, this translates to an excellent wicking ability that will pull moisture away from the skin, so that it can evaporate. Bamboo also has many antibacterial qualities, which Bamboo fabric is apparently able to retain, even through multiple washings, which helps in reducing the bacteria that thrive on clothing. It can also kill odour causing bacteria that live on human skin, making the wearer and his/her clothing smell sweeter. In addition, Bamboo fabric has insulating properties and will keep the wearer cooler in summer and warmer in winter. The versatility of Bamboo fabric makes it an excellent choice for clothing designers exploring alternative textiles, and in addition, the fabric is able to take bright dye colors well, drape smoothly, and star in a variety of roles from knit shirts to woven skirts.

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About the Authors

B. R. Das is associated with the Department of Textile Technology, Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, India and S. Hati is with Utkal University of Culture, Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India.