Analysis of Bamboo Textile Properties: Bamboo Sheets

 

The most common species of bamboo used in the bamboo rayon textile industry is called Phyllostachys edulis.  It grows abundantly in many of the Chinese provinces and provides a sustainable resource for many parts of the world.  This property analysis is intended to demonstrate the superiority of bamboo usage in textile when compared to the more common usage of cotton and polyester.  These other commonly used products tend to be extremely hard on the environment, requiring extreme amounts of pesticides, and a much larger use of water.  Comparatively, bamboo plants utilize a more efficient spatial consumption, much faster renewability, and are more biodegradable.

Some common advantages of bamboo are the various properties listed below:

  • Extremely soft feel
  • Antimicrobial properties
  • Moisture-wicking properties
  • Anti-static nature
  • Moisture absorption
  • Breaking tenacity

As an all around more durable linen than cotton or polyester, this renewable textile is vastly superior to common textiles in all these areas, as this report intends to show.  These properties bridge the gap between the intention of bamboo, being a sustainable resource, and the outcome, of it being a product usable and desirable for human use.  The properties exhibited by bamboo are more appropriate for their intended use than are the properties of cotton and polyester.

Increased processing of bamboo alters the outcome of these property tests.  For example, mechanically manufactured bamboo fabric is extremely durable, far overshadowing the durability of chemically manufactured bamboo.  However, mechanically manufactured bamboo has a coarse ramie-like texture, which isn’t as pleasant of a textile as the chemically manufactured version.  This report suggests the information from chemically manufactured bamboo, as it is more desirable as an organic fabric for the masses.

Breaking Force-Tenacity

We will start the analysis by testing the property of tear force in Phyllostachys edulis.  While some companies may use more than one species of bamboo when creating textiles, this species is the most common and will therefore serve as a useful starting point.  The goal of these property tests is to determine the durability of the item.  The longer it can be used without wearing out, the longer it can remain out of the landfills, and a larger duration can pass before new resources are wasted on its replacement.  Durability is a key factor in textiles environmental impact.

A North Carolina State standardized study found the breaking force and breaking tenacity of bamboo fibers from the Phyllostachys edulis species to be vastly superior to common textiles as shown in the following table.

Name Average Breaking Force (CN) Average Breaking Tenacity (CN/dTex)
Phyllostachys edulis 17.7 ±2.8 11.4±1.8
Cotton 35 3.5
Wool 12 1.2
Viscose Rayon 20 2
Polyester 39.5 3.95

 

It can be easily seen that per strand, bamboo fibers are far more resilient to breakage than most of the commonly used textiles.

The rest of the data can be viewed here.  It compares two different species of bamboo and their moisture absorption and moisture wicking capabilities.  This study is crucial, in that the amount of moisture absorption and its drying rate can affect the amount of time spent in conventional and mechanical washing and drying equipments.  Both of these equipments can be very energy intensive.

Accessibility of Bamboo

Bamboo as a trade and valuable crop has been hurt and hindered by many different factors.  The shifts of value in the textile markets and trades have ruined many bamboo farmers.  Bamboo fabric has been made into bamboo linen sheets, bamboo sheets, organic sheets, bamboo bedding, bamboo blankets, bamboo forest, organic bedding, and organic blankets.  Emphasis on diversification of products on the part of the bamboo farmers is crucial if the product is to be grown and traded successfully.  Global trade agreements come into play, and can either help or hinder any particular country’s access to large scale bamboo farmers.