How is Rice fabric made?
Rice fabric is fabric that is made from the stem of the rice plant after all the rice has been harvested. These are usually disposed of as a waste by product in the rice food manufacturing process. By using these parts in textile production, waste is reduced dramatically.
Rice Straw fabric resembles cotton or linen and is still in its early development stages. It will not be available on the mass market for several years until it is perfected.
The stems of the rice plant consist mainly of cellulose, like many plant fibres. Using a precise combination of chemicals, the cellulose can be separated from the still, inflexible parts of the stem. These cellulosic materials can then be spun into fibres, like any plant materials. They are placed into a spinneret and with applied pressure, through the many holes, fibres are produced.
The production process also involves leaving the Rice straw to ‘ret’ in a bath full of enzymes to separate the useable fibre parts with the un-useable parts. These fibres are then blended with wool before they are processed to create a fabric that has all the properties of wool, yet improved because of the added rice straw.
China currently has a waste problem with the amount of Rice straw wasted and typically burns it, reducing the air quality in these places. A New Zealand company that manufactures wool aims to reduce Chinas waste by 75% in the next 5 years.
Properties of Rice
- Performance fabrics
- Withstands normal washing and ironing
- Low cost as it is a by-product
- Good tensile strength
- Naturally fire resistant
End uses of Rice fabric
- Building Work
- Industrial uses
- Replacement for synthetic fibres
- Automobile fabrics
- Everyday applications
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