Cotton is one of the best known natural fibers and is most commonly used as a textile fiber. Cotton is extracted from the seed hairs of the cotton plant, a shrub-like plant. Botanically, this belongs to the mallow family. There are different species through 20, but only 4 species are cultivated for cotton production.
Cotton is very absorbent and can absorb up to 65% of its own weight in water.
Cotton was already in 5800 years BC in Central America. In China and India 3000 years BC Known. Only from 800 n. Chr. Came cotton products by Arabian merchants to Europe and only 600 years later, in the 14. Century, a larger amount of cotton was processed in southern Germany. First, the cotton was spun in Augsburg and Ulm and woven mainly in linen. Already 100 years before Arabs made the cotton known in Sicily and Spain. To the 17. Century led Augsburg to the industrial mass production. Other inventions, such as the spinning machine and the mechanical loom, increased the production volumes considerably.
Despite the competition from numerous chemical fibers, cotton still covers a large part of the total textile fiber consumption. Since about 1969, the world production of raw cotton has almost doubled. At the beginning of the 70s, cotton was reduced to a market share of 34% by the much cheaper polyester staple fiber in the overall fiber market. However, cotton fiber rebounded again at the beginning of the 90s and its market share increased to 50%. Due to the general trend towards natural fiber products, cotton was able to further expand its market position also in the organic segment.
CULTIVATION & PROCESSING
The cotton is harvested after flowering, when the fruit capsules burst open after about 8 weeks and a white pad swells out. When harvesting with the picking machine huge quantities are harvested with the capsules, which later have to be removed in several steps. The picked cotton is pressed into a big bale with the press. Subsequently, the cotton fiber is separated in the ginning machine by means of steel combs of capsule residues and seeds. With unbleached fabrics, however, capsule remnants are sometimes recognizable as black spots. Then the finished combed cotton is transported to the spinning mill. In the spinning mill, the cotton is picked a second time and cleaned again before it enters the carding machine. In the carding machine, the individual fibers are combed, sorted by fiber length and combined into carding belts. For the textile industry, as long as possible fibers (3-5cm) are used. The spinning machine then twists a yarn out of the cotton fibers. Depending on your needs, the yarn is dyed and woven into fabrics on the loom.
The cotton has excellent spinning properties. Looking at the fiber under the microscope, it looks like a flat band with corkscrewing twists. Through these twists, the fibers adhere well to each other during spinning despite the smooth fiber surface. In addition, cotton is extremely resistant to both mechanical and chemical influences. It has a high tear and abrasion resistance in wet conditions and is heat resistant. In addition, cotton is easy to clean and has excellent color properties.
Properties of cotton
easy to dye
good price and performance ratio