Textile fibres from wood to be the next better alternative to cotton

January 7, 2014

Researchers at Aalto University and the University of Helsinki are working out spinning process to produce cellulosic textile fibres from Finnish wood – as an next better alternative to cotton, viscose or Tencel fibres.

The technique, called Ioncell-F, is quite similar to the Lyocell process, where wood chips are chemically digested into a wet pulp, dried and spun. Wood pulp is dissolved without derivatisation in a direct solvent, in this instance ionic liquid. The resulting cellulose solution is then spun in a dry-jet wet spinning process, so the solution is extruded through appropriate spinnerets to form multi-filaments that pass an air gap before they enter the coagulation bath. The coagulation bath consists of anti-solvent, typically water. The ionic liquid is washed away and solid cellulosic fibres form. The fibre-bundle is then taken by motor-driven godets and guided through the spinning line. The godet speed is usually a multiple of the extrusion velocity. The filaments are stretched in the air gap, up to a factor of 20. Stretching the filament thinner creates extensional stress on the cellulose solution.

Professor Herbert Sixta of Aalto University adds that this makes orientation of the cellulose polymer chains parallel to the filament axis. This high orientation also results in high strength values – up to double that of viscose – which are preserved in a wet state, unlike viscose fibres, which are considerably weaker when wet.’ The fibres are then washed, dried, crimped or, in some cases, treated with fibre finish, and cut to staple fibres.

The Ioncell fibre is very similar to a Lyocell fibre, but is stronger than viscose and has high water retention. Due to the high strength and moduli of the fibres, the material is not only suitable for the garment industry but also as a reinforcement component in composites for a variety of manufacturing sectors.

But Sixta adds that it is the environmental credentials of the process that stand out. The viscose process requires carbon disulphide and sodium hydroxide, and generates sulphur oxides and dihydrogen sulphide as by-products. Although many viscose mills in the northern hemisphere have recycling systems to avoid release of those chemicals into the environment, techniques to avoid them entering the processing chain are required. In this process, the ionic liquid that accumulates in the coagulation bath is fully recycled by evaporation. The cellulose pulp is fully transformed into fibres and all material used on the way is recycled. However, due to a pending patent application, the exact material composition and binders cannot be stated.

According to Sixta the demand in textile fibres reached 75.5mt in 2010 and is predicted to rise to 133.5mt by 2030. Due to the inherent properties of cellulosic fibres (moisture management, breathability), which cannot be met adequately by synthetic fibres, the share of natural and man-made cellulosic fibres is expected to be between 33–37% of global fibre consumption. The per capita consumption of cellulosic fibres is assumed to increase from 3.7kg to 5.4kg in 2030. Cotton production capacities, however, are no longer expandable. This so-called cellulose gap offers new opportunities for man-made fibres. Replacement of cotton by pulp-based fibres is also necessary from an ecological perspective. Cotton production consumes substantial amounts of water and requires high-grade arable land, often competing with the cultivation of aliments.

Although there is an interest from both pulp mills and textile companies, commercialisation will take 5–10 years. In the meantime, fibre-spinning equipment needs to be scaled up to study spinning of several hundred filaments. Research also needs to be conducted on small-scale spinning units in preparation for a 2–5 tonnes per day pilot plant.

Finland is famous for just three things wood exports, saunas and a mild disposition, but soon it may be equally well-known for a textile production technique.


Karnataka govt will not ban Bt cotton: Minister

May 31, 2013
The newly-formed Congress government in the southern Indian state of Karnataka is in favour of allowing farmers to make their choices on the use of genetically modified (GM) crops like Bt cotton, Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda has said
Bt cotton was introduced some 15 years ago in Karnataka and it has since then helped the state’s farmers to increase their output. As of today, about 90 percent of the cotton acreage in the state is under Bt cotton.
Meanwhile, Dharwad and Raichur bas...

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Aditya Birla group`s Jaya Shree Textile To Increase Linen Fabric Production

April 12, 2013
Aditya Birla group's Jaya Shree Textiles has plans to increase the production of linen fabric in view of growing demand for the texture in the domestic dress market, a senior company official has said. 

"We have plans to increase the production of linen to cater to the growing demand for our own branded Linen Club and for other leading garment brands that bring out ready-made wear using the fabric", Textiles Division President S Krisnamoorthy said here today. 

Krishnamoorthy, who opened the exc...
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India Cotton Likely To Rise On Export Demand

January 21, 2013
Cotton prices in India, the world’s second-largest producer, are expected to rise next week on a likely rise in export demand from neighbouring Bangladesh and Pakistan, after remaining steady this week on buying by state-run agencies. 

“Exporters are getting good number of queries from Bangladesh and Pakistan. Both countries are ramping up yarn productions,” said Dhirenbhai Khaitan, a trader based in Rajkot, Gujarat. 

Fibre prices in local markets steadied on buying by state-run Cotton Co...
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Cotton Yarn Prices Spurt On Seasonal Demand

December 24, 2012
Cotton yarn prices jumped 14 per cent in two weeks on a sudden spurt in demand from both the domestic as well as international markets. 

The benchmark variety of cotton yarn for 30’s combed, shot up to Rs 200 a kg today, from Rs 175 a kg about a fortnight ago in the spot Ludhiana market. In Mumbai’s popular yarn market, the commodity was traded at Rs 195 a kg versus Rs 170 a kg about two weeks ago. 

“ Export of cotton yarn has been on a rise due to bulk demand coming in from India’s inh...
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Cotton Supplies To Local Markets Fall 10%

December 19, 2012
Cotton supplies in local spot markets from the new crop in India, the world's second-largest producer of the fibre, have fallen 10 per cent in the current season that began in October, the Cotton Corp of India said. 

Supplies until December 16 fell to 6.2 million bales of 170 kg each, down from 6.9 million bales a year earlier, the state-run procurement agency said in a statement on Tuesday. 

Supplies in spot markets are rising gradually but they are still below expectations as many farmers, wh...
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Cotton: Poor Demand Rules The Markets

December 18, 2012
Cotton market ran out of steam after US weekly export sales dropped by a third. The US government data raised fears among investors that the recent stronger demand from abroad, particularly from top China, was waning. The most-active March contract on ICE Futures US settled up US cent 1.30 over the week. 

The Cotlook A index also inched up US cents 1.15 while the China Cotton Index was up 62 Yuan a ton. Indian cotton prices gained Rs 200 a candy on export demand. Moreover, arrivals declined in...
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Falling Prices Due To Increase In Supply Spur CCI To Buy Cotton

December 17, 2012
The Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) has begun commercial procurement in Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Odisha where prices have fallen following an increase in supplies. 

The National Spot Exchange (NSEL) has started procurement on behalf of National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (Nafed) in Andhra Pradesh. 

However, prices in Gujarat, the country's leading cotton producer, remain firm at Rs 4,100 to Rs 4,200 a quintal, above the minimum support prices of Rs 3,850 a qui...
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Garment Makers Explore New Markets To Raise Exports

October 12, 2012
With exports not registering any growth in the last 3 ½ years, garment makers from Tirupur are aiming to ship at least a third of their merchandise to markets outside the US and EU. Non-traditional markets (non-US , non-EU ) currently account for only about a fourth of the total garment exports from Tirupur. While the EU accounts for about 50% of the exports from the knitwear town, nearly 26% of the shipments go to the US. 

"Our aim is to increase the share of exports to non-traditional marke...
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Competition may affect margins in the denim segment

June 2, 2012
With many new companies entering the denim fabric space and existing companies expanding their production capacities in anticipation of high demand, experts feel that such a heightened competing environment would put pressure on denim makers’ profit margins. According to analysts, domestic as well as international demand for denim has been growing at the rate of 25-30 per cent yearly, despite the economic crisis. The US export demand is also high. Moreover, in the next one year, demand is e...
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Vibhore Lodha
Vibhore Lodha