A plant of the nettle family native to tropical regions of Asia and other warm climates. The bast fiber from the stalk of the plant, is similar to flax, and fabric made from it resembles silk or linen. Ramie, also known as China Grass, is one of the oldest vegetable fibers and has been used in China over 2000 years, long before cotton was introduced in the Far East. It is used as a textile and paper making fiber.
Ramie is classified chemically as a cellulose fiber, just as cotton, linen, and rayon. Ramie is a natural woody fiber resembling flax. The fiber is stiff, more brittle than linen, and highly lustrous. It can be bleached to extreme whiteness. Ramie fibers are long and very fine. They are white and lustrous and almost silk-like in appearance. The strength of ramie is excellent, but its elastic recovery is low and elongation is poor. When combed, ramie is half the density of linen, but much stronger, coarser, and more absorbent. It has permanent luster and good affinity for dyes; it is affected little by moisture. Ramie is used as filling yarn in mixed woolen fabrics, with silk fibers, and as a substitute for flax. This fiber is also useful for rope, twine, and nets.
A transparent manufactured fiber composed of regenerated cellulose, derived from wood pulp, cotton linters, or other vegetable matter. Cellulose fibers from wood or cotton are dissolved in alkali to make a solution called viscose (which means having a cohesive and sticky fluid consistency), which is then extruded through a nozzle, or spinneret, into an acid bath to reconvert the viscose into cellulose. A similar process, using a slit instead of a hole, is used to make cellophane.
Rayon was originally named artificial silk or wood silk, but the name rayon was created in 1924. Unlike nylon, rayon absorbs water, making it more comfortable to wear as a clothing textile. Characteristics of rayon are that it is highly absorbent, soft and comfortable, easy to dye, and drapes well. Rayon is used extensively in all types of apparel, home furnishings, and also has many industrial and medical applications.
The two most commonly used production methods for rayon are the cuprammonium process (cupro) and the viscose process. Viscose is becoming less common because of the polluting effects of carbon disulphide and other by-products of the process. (For more information on the viscose process visit www.fibersource.com and click on the “rayon” link.)
A manufactured fiber in which the fiber-forming substance is made up of natural or synthetic rubber