The raw material cotton

THE COTTON

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Cotton is one of the most famous natural fibers and is most commonly used as a textile fiber. Cotton is obtained from the seed hairs of the cotton plant, a shrub-like plant. From a botanical point of view, this belongs to the mallow family. There are over 20 different species, but only 4 of them are cultivated for cotton production.
Cotton is very absorbent and can absorb up to 65% of its own weight in water.

HISTORY

Cotton was in Central America as early as 5800 BC. And in China and India 3000 years BC. Known. It was not until 800 AD that cotton products came to Europe through Arab merchants and it was not until 600 years later, in the 14th century, that a large amount of cotton was processed in southern Germany. First the cotton was spun in Augsburg and Ulm and mostly woven into linen. 100 years earlier, Arabs made cotton known in Sicily and Spain. Augsburg led industrial mass production until the 17th century. Further inventions, such as the spinning machine and the mechanical loom, increased production volumes considerably.

Despite the competition from numerous man-made fibers, cotton still covers a large part of the total textile fiber consumption. Since around 1969, world production of raw cotton has almost doubled. At the beginning of the 70s, the much cheaper polyester staple fiber reduced cotton to a market share of 34% in the overall fiber market. However, cotton fiber recovered again in the early 90s and the market share increased to 50%. Due to the general trend towards natural fiber products, cotton was able to further expand its market position in the organic segment.

Cultivation & processing

The cotton is harvested after flowering when the fruit capsules burst after about 8 weeks and a white pad oozes 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 large bale with the press. The cotton fiber is then separated from the remains of the capsules and seeds in the ginning machine using steel combs. In the case of unbleached fabrics, however, capsule remains can sometimes be seen as black dots. The combed cotton is then transported to the spinning mill. In the spinning mill, the cotton is picked a second time and cleaned again before it goes into the carding machine. In the carding machine, the individual fibers are combed, sorted according to fiber length and combined into carding belts. The longest possible fibers (3-5cm) are used for the textile industry. The spinning machine then twists the cotton fibers into a yarn. The yarn is dyed as required and woven into fabrics on the loom.

QUALITIES

The cotton has excellent spinning properties. If you look at the fiber under a microscope, it looks like a flat ribbon with corkscrew-like twists. Due to this twist, the fibers adhere well to one another 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 when wet and is heat-resistant. Cotton is also easy to clean and has excellent color properties.


Properties of cotton

resistant
good spinnability
easy to dye
moisture absorption
breathability
good price and performance ratio

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