Natural Fibre: Silk

Topics: Silk, History of silk, Bombyx mori Pages: 6 (1374 words) Published: April 8, 2013
what are the main silk producing countries?
what are the main silk producing countries?

Thailand china India
how is silk made?
how is silk made?

Today the silk industry is worth a lot of money. It is actually worth anywhere between $200 and $500 million each year. This is because there is such great demand for items that are made from silk. Usually the species Bombyx mori is cultivated and raised under controlled conditions. There are various stages to this process. They include: * When the silk worm forms a covering around itself by secreting a protein through its head, this is called the cocoon stage. This is the most desirable stage for the silk producers. It is at this time that the cocoons are delivered to the factory by the farmer. These factories are called filature operations.

* Once the cocoons reach the filature operations they are sorted by colour, size, shape and texture. They usually range from white and yellow to greyish

* After the cocoons have been sorted, they have to be boiled in water, while they are still intact, for 5 minutes while they are being turned gently. They are then taken out of the water and a dissecting needle is used to start picking up the strands. Once a single strand is found that will come off easily it has to be wound around a pencil. This is how the cocoon is loosened so that it can be unwound in 1 continuous thread, which is collected into skeins. The process is called “reeling.”

* Since the thread is too fine for commercial use, between 3 and 10 strands then have to be reeled together to produce the desired diameter of raw silk. This is known as "reeled silk." It will take 3,000 cocoons to make just 1 pound of this type of silk. * This silk must then be reeled into skeens and packed into small bundles called books. These are then shipped to silk mills around the world.

origin of silk
origin of silk

According to Chinese tradition, the history of silk began in the 27th century BCE. Its use was confined to China until the Silk Road opened at some point during the later half of the first millennium BCE. China maintained its virtual monopoly over silk for another thousand years. Not confined to clothing, silk was also used for a number of other applications, including writing, and the colour of silk worn was an important indicator of social class during the Tang Dynasty.

Silk cultivation spread to Japan in around 300 CE, and by 522 the Byzantines managed to obtain silkworm eggs and were able to begin silkworm cultivation. The Arabs also began to manufacture silk during this same time. As a result of the spread of sericulture, Chinese silk exports became less important, although they still maintained dominance over the luxury silk market. The Crusades brought silk production to Western Europe, in particular to many Italian states, which saw an economic boom exporting silk to the rest of Europe. Changes in manufacturing techniques also began to take place during the Middle Ages, with devices such as the spinning wheel first appearing. During the 16th century France joined Italy in developing a successful silk trade, though the efforts of most other nations to develop a silk industry of their own were unsuccessful.

what are the special qualities which silk has that manufacturers try yo imitate in other fabrics?
what are the special qualities which silk has that manufacturers try yo imitate in other fabrics?

Reasons for imitating silk.-Silk, the most beautiful as well as the strongest of all textile fibres, is naturally in strong demand the world over. Nothing but its high cost of production prevents its more general use. One does not wonder that there is much interest in finding substitutes for this great fibre, or cheaper materials which combine as many of the qualities of true silk as possible; such, for example, as its high...
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