In the hunt for new, ecologically friendly fabrics stinging nettle fiber has come up smelling of roses. Clothing made from the nettle is not a new idea; for the past 2,000 years people have worn fabrics made from these stinging plants. But nettle lose there popularity when cotton arrived at 16th century, because cotton was easier to harvest and spin.
Nettles made a brief come back during the First World War, Germany suffered storage of cotton and nettles were used to produce Germany army uniforms. Now, new advance in spinning technologies and cross- breeding to produce super- high- fiber plants means that stinging nettles are set to become the latest fashion.
Nettle is highly successful plant found all over the temperate areas of the world. Nettle is common herbaceous plant which regroups 30 to 45 species. It is the part of the urticaceae family such as ramie (Asian nettle, Boehmeria nivea) and belongs to the genus Urtica.
The most prominent member of the genus is the stinging nettle Urtica dioica, native to Europe, North Africa Asia and North America. Existing the problems in the agriculture sector underline need for alterative crops.
Stinging nettle is a perennial plant thrives in nitrogenous and Over-fair-sized soil and also has environmentally sound cultivation method as well as resistance to diseases and rests so they do not need dangerous pollutants to protect them.
The plant itself is variable growing from 0.6sto 2 meters plus in height and can be found in variety of habitats and soil types the stem specially of old plant of the big stinging nettle has very long and tough bast fibers.
Thousands of year ago nettle thread – also called nettle fiber was produced from this plant. Further more fibers also useful for manufacture of nettle cloth, which is tougher than linen, as wall as finishing nets and rope.
The single fiber of the stinging nettle can only reach the maximum of 250 millimeters could be reached. Nettle plants widely exist in china, but up to now there is no research regarding the Chinese nettle fiber properties it’s specially about there spinability.
The average length of the nettle fiber is about 34mm, and fineness is ranging from 0.589 to 0.769 Tex. Nettle fiber has high breaking strength and low breaking extension and high initial young modulus.
Both biochemical method and chemical method can meet the requirement of nettle degumming, with residual being less than 4. Nettle fiber can be utilized as textile material can be spun in rotor spinning machine after well degumming.
Nettle fiber invention
The first attempt to commercialized the production of nettle fiber was in Germany during 1720s, since there have been frequent effort in several European countries to cultivate the nettle and develop method of extracting the fiber that could be applied on large scale. Most of these results carry in Germany particularly during the 19th century. Unfortunately they do not seem to have been successful, cost effective method of nettle fiber extraction resulting from all this activity. It was Dr Gastav bredemann who turned the tide with his research from 1927 to 1950. He interbred selected plant of Urtica dioica and produced several high fiber clones that could be cultivated. The criteria for selected plants were that they should be frost resistant, have long straight stems with the minimal branching and of course a high percentage fiber in stem. These verities were given the name ‘Nettle’. Bredemann’s work was quickly forgotten for many years after his book DIE GROBE BRENNESSEL was published in1950.
During the 1990s Dr Jens dreyer from the institute of applied Botany in H Hamburg re-identified the individual fiber nettle clones that still survived in the institute and revived and tested Bredemann’s research. The fiber nettle is now being used as a basis for several commercial nettle fiber projects in Europe and advance in technology are making...