Prophylactic self-isolation for wardrobe labels investigation. Day 94th.

Overture

Have you heard about alternative to a cotton fabric – a ramie fabric? Me no, until last week, when I bought a new pair of trousers with the strange ingredient list:

ramie 48%
viscose47%
cotton5%
pocket lining – cotton100%
Label of trousers, bought in H&M

The fabric of trousers looked really god, but “ramie” seemed suspicious. and that is only because I did not heard about it before. Now, when I have read about it, it seems to be one of a new edge for exploration and wonder.

Ramie is a kind of a plant from the Nettle family.

My any possible olden connection between nettle and fabric or clothes was in regard to the Brother Grim’s fairy-tale “The Six Swans”. In the fairy-tale, the sister needed to weave shirts from nettle for her six brothers (in another version of the fairy tale – from asters). More so, she needed to weave them within six years keeping total silence – the magic to redeem her brothers from a shape of swans would disappear forever if she would utter.

The Six Swans by Grimm, illustrator Olga Zakharova on https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-six-swans-brothers-grimm/1017202827

One could find the interesting interpretations of “The Six Swans” fairy-tale which are given here as the references 1 and 2 (below the post). Fairy-tale based cartoon is also available online (3).

Strong moral lesson, however, could be seen at the end (or this is just the beginning?) of the fairy tale: it is dangerous to withstand against the evil – the arrows will turn back and could injure. Let the evil stay alone, and it will destroy itself in the own-created fire of anger.

Let the evil stay alone, and it will destroy itself in the own-created fire of anger.

Dr. A. Palatronis

What is RAMIE?

Ramie origin

Ramie (Boehmeria niveau, genus Urtica) is made of natural fibers and is a kind of the Nettle family. Ramie is also called China grass, grass linen, grass cloth or China linen. Species of Boehmeria do not have stinging hairs, although they are related to the similar-looking species of the stinging nettles. So, ramie plant does not sting!

Natural fibers, depending on their origin, are grouped into (4):

BastRamie, flax, kenaf/mesta, hemp and jute
LeafSisal, pineapple leaf fibre (PALF) and henequen
SeedCotton
FruitCoconut husk, i. e., coir
Origin and examples of natural fibers

Ramie is a Bast natural fiber

Ramie in textile

Ramie fibers are the longest and one of the strongest fine textile fibers and mostly available and used in China, Japan and Malaysia. Ramie poses essentially advanced properties as an textile material, such as holding shape, less wrinkling, silky luster, special cooling feel, high absorbency, good air permeability, as well as a green, ecological and functional fiber (5).

Composition

Ramie consists mainly of cellulose (68-76%), lignin (0.6-0.7%), hemicellulose (13-17%), pectin (1.9%), wax (0.3%) (4).

Ramie degumming for textile

For textile purposes, gummy materials such as hemicellulose, pectin and wax are treated as impurities. raw ramie plant material is available as a spinnable cellulosic component in textile only after removing of gummy materials. Degumming (removal of gummy materials) could be achieved by using different procedures (5):

Degumming techniques for ramie raw and/or decorticated material (5):

  • chemical (old-fashion technique)
  • enzymatic (clean, environmentally friendly technique, but slow and not sufficient, as any other enzymatically-based methods)
  • bacterial-enzymatic
  • bacterial with natural polymers (calcium alginate)
  • enzymatic with minerals (hydroxyapatite nanoparticles)
  • combination of chemical and enzymatic methods (sufficient)
  • low temperature plasma treatment (combined with wet-chemical process, very sufficient). Example of wet-chemical process – liquid ammonia treatment which was introduced by the Norwegian Textile Research in 1963 (6)
  • low temperature plasma treatment (combined with enzymatic method – promising and environmentally friendly technique (5))
  • and others

In other words, it is not enough just to wear raw ramie bast to get a textile.

Photos of ramie (Boehmeria niveau) plant and its extracted fibers (7)

Ramie in ballistics

Interesting. Novel and promising ballistic ramie fabric epoxy-composite was developed by Brazilian scientists in collaboration with US scientists, competing with conventional Kevlar™ fabric in multilayered armor (7).

Ramie in biomaterials

Ramie suture has been investigated as a biomaterial. It showed high efficiency in closing and healing of the wounds leaving no scars on the wounded area (8).

Fabric of the future

The online journal “Financial express” calls ramie the fabric of the future (9).

References:

  1. Fairy Tale Analysis: The Six Swans by Chris Lemay, available online on https://medium.com/@chrislemay/the-six-swans-multimodal-essay-5ad6f24293a1
  2. Saving the Day with Sewing and Flowers: The Grimms’ “The Six Swans” by Mari Ness, available online on https://www.tor.com/2018/11/29/saving-the-day-with-sewing-and-flowers-the-six-swans/
  3. Grimm’s Fairy Tale Classics The Six Swans, available online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKPtShfBadw
  4. Mohanty A, Misra Ma, Hinrichsen G. Biofibres, biodegradable polymers and biocomposites: An overview. Macromolecular materials and Engineering. 2000;276(1):1-24
  5. Shen M, Wang L, Long J. Biodegumming of ramie fiber with pectinases enhanced by oxygen plasma. J Clean Prod. 2015;101:395-403
  6. Li J, Feng J, Zhang H, Zhang J. Wear properties of hemp, ramie and linen fabrics after liquid ammonia/crosslinking treatment. Fibres & Textiles in Eastern Europe. 2010;18(5):81-5
  7. Monteiro SN, Milanezi TL, Louro LHL, Lima Jr ÃP, Braga FO, Gomes AV, et al. Novel ballistic ramie fabric composite competing with Kevlarâ„¢ fabric in multilayered armor. Mater Des. 2016;96:263-9
  8. Kandimalla R, Kalita S, Choudhury B, Devi D, Kalita D, Kalita K, et al. Fiber from ramie plant (Boehmeria nivea): a novel suture biomaterial. Materials Science and Engineering: C. 2016;62:816-22.
  9. Weaving its mark: Sustainable, eco-friendly Ramie promises to be a fabric of the future by Ananaya Banerjee, published: March 25, 2018, available online: https://www.financialexpress.com/lifestyle/weaving-its-mark-sustainable-eco-friendly-ramie-promises-to-be-a-fabric-of-the-future/1110128/

Photo of the swans in the sea, February 2020, by Dr. A. Palatronis on www.z-antenna.com

Disclaimer and Usage Policy

Prophylactic self-isolation for wardrobe transformation. Day 34th.

What are you wearing while STAYING AT HOME during COVID-19? Now, being almost all the time inside our shells, do we feel comfortable in our home-wearing clothes? More so, while body mobility is that much constrained to narrower horizons, is there a need to reconsider a wardrobe?

3 reasons why I have changed common sportswear trousers to yoga pants from today:

Guys, I know it is only my legs here on photos, but nevertheless, I am smiling :)!!!

  • Usually, sportswear trousers are made of polyester, a synthetic fabric. Air permeability of polyester fabrics highly depends on a thickness and density of a fabric (1). In other words, our crotch does not “breath” in thick and dense sportswear, especially if wearing 24/7, I mean, all day long on a daily basis during self-isolation/quarantine. Guys, we already closed our mouths and noses with masks while going for necessary food shopping. At least one place should still breath!

our crotch does not “breath” in thick and dense sportswear

  • Most synthetic polyesters are not biodegradable. It means, if going to trash after usage, that material contributes to nowadays global pollution*
  • Washing of polyester fabrics (clothes) in domestic washing machines contribute considerably to microplastic pollution of water and seawater habitats because common washing releases fibers, millions of tiny fabric shreds (2). Well, if the study was conducted few years ago, we are probably eating microplastics with shrimps, fish and fish oil at least for a decade?

If thinking deeply, by wearing polyester clothes do we put plastic shrimps to our plates afterwards?

*For those who think that bacteria will manage with polyester pollution:):

You can find some information online that bacteria like Cyanobacteria and single-celled organisms like Archaea contribute to the degradation of polyesters. First of all, the statement was based on a nearly single study, even not directly related to research on biodegradation of polyester fabrics, where word “polyester” was mentioned just once in a whole scientific paper, released 15 years ago (3). Anyway, if so, find out where those bacteria live and is there enough of them to manage with tons of fashionable one-season clothes we wear; are those Cyanobacteria and Archaea are staying hungry and just waiting for humans to give them food in a form of polyester?:) Are they ready to “eat” and decompose all of synthetic polyester fibers, stained with synthetic dyes?:)

References:

(1) Air permeability of polyester nonwoven fabrics, 2015. https://content.sciendo.com/view/journals/aut/15/1/article-p8.xml

(2) Release of synthetic microplastic plastic fibres from domestic washing
machines: Effects of fabric type and washing conditions, 2016. http://www.inquirylearningcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Napper2016.pdf

(3) Saving a fragile legacy. Biotechnology and microbiology are increasingly used to preserve and restore the world’s cultural heritage, 2006. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1679785/

Photos by Dr. A. Palatronis on www.z-antenna.com

Disclaimer and Usage Policy