MAJOR PROJECT: Research // Ropes

As coiling is one of my major techniques that will frequent in my major project, it is important to understand my materials, their make-up, their environmental impact and other properties. I have before worked with both cotton and sisal rope and I aim to better expand my current knowledge, and potentially look at other alternatives. 


Here is some compiled research (image credit has been linked at the bottom of article): 


Sisal Rope



Sisal Rope

Sisal Fiber is one of the most widely used natural fiber and is very easily cultivated. It is obtain from sisal plant. The plant, known formally as Agave sisalana. These plants produce rosettes of sword-shaped leaves which start out toothed, and gradually lose their teeth with maturity. Each leaf contains a number of long, straight fibers which can be removed in a process known as decortication. During decortication, the leaves are beaten to remove the pulp and plant material, leaving the tough fibers behind. The fibers can be spun into thread for twine and textile production, or pulped to make paper products. 


Chemical Composition of Sisal Fiber:

Cellulose
65%
Hemicelluloses
12%
Lignin
9.9%
Waxes
2%
Total
100%


Pros:

  • 100 % biodegradeable
  • Durable
  • Low maintenance
  • Low wear and tear
  • No pesticides/fertilisers 
  • Takes colour dye very well - The fine texture takes dyes easily and offers the largest range of dyed colours of all natural fibers
  • Sisal fibers are Anti static, does not attract or trap dust particles and does not absorb moisture or water easily
  • It exhibits good sound and impact absorbing properties
  • Its leaves can be treated with natural borax for fire resistance properties
  • It is available as plaid, herringbone and twill


Cons:

  • Not suitable for fabric textiles due to it's tough texture
  • Not recommended for wet areas as moulding can occur
  • Dry, itchy and scratchy
  • Hard on hands, difficult to work with



Organic Cotton Rope




Organic Cotton Rope
Organic cotton is grown using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment. Organic production systems replenish and maintain soil fertility, reduce the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers, and build biologically diverse agriculture. Third-party certification organizations verify that organic producers use only methods and materials allowed in organic production. Organic cotton is grown without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. In addition, federal regulations prohibit the use of genetically engineered seed for organic farming.

Pros:

  • Free from pesticides, no chemicals
  • Has a stronger, more durable fabric from the extra-long fibres
  • Does not use GMO (genetically modified) seeds
  • Builds strong soil through crop rotation
  • Uses less water
  • Uses trap crops and beneficial insects


Cons:

  • Cotton and other ropes made of natural fibres can swell and kink in humidity, making them prone to mildew and damage over time
  • Unsustainable industry, drought has affected production
  • The planting of organic cotton is at a developing stage and even experimental process. Also there is no standard third-party monitoring to guarantee the planting process



Hemp Rope



Hemp Rope

Hemp is particularly effective as a source for textiles. The fibres drawn from the hemp plant are the strongest and longest in nature. Fabrics, twines, yarns and cords made from hemp are durable and versatile. It can be combed into any gauge or quality of fibre. As a substitute for such diverse substances as cotton, trees, or petroleum, hemp proves to be more environmentally sound than all of its alternatives (requiring about 10% of the water needed to produce cotton) and its versatility and resilience make it economically sound as well.

Pros:

  • Low-maintenance and resilient
  • Requires none of the weeding and heavy use of pesticides usually required in farming
  • Only uses 10% of water in which cotton uses to produce the equivalent amount of supply.


Cons:
  • Not recommended for wet areas as moulding can occur
  • Dry, itchy and scratchy
  • Hard on hands

Manila Rope


Manila Rope 
Manila rope comes from the Abacá plant which is a species of banana with non edible fruits, native to the Philippines. It is also grown widely in Borneo and in Sumatra. Sometimes it is referred to as “BacBac”. The plant is harvested for its fibre, called Manila hemp, which is extracted from the sheaths, the bottom part of the leaves which form the pseudo‑stem. Other common names for Manila hemp include “Cebu hemp” and “Davao hemp”.


Pros:
  • The fibre made from Abacá is very durable, flexible and resistant
  • It is relatively cheap to produce and completely biodegradable
  • It can be made into many hard-wearing products and has a beautiful texture when made into hats and other products


Cons:
  • Manila ropes shrink (10-15%) when they become wet. This effect can be advantageous under certain circumstances, but if it is not a wanted feature, it should be well taken into account. Since shrinkage is more pronounced the first time the rope becomes wet, new rope is usually immersed into water and put to dry before use so that the shrinkage is less than it would be if the rope had never been wet. A major disadvantage in this shrinkage is that many knots made with manila rope became harder and more difficult to untie when wet, thus becoming subject of increased stress.
Jute Rope



Jute Rope
Jute is also called as the golden crop or fiber. This is the most significant fiber that is grown in our country. Jute is used in the manufacturing of various items like bags, mats, and ropes. The soil required for the cultivation of this crop is well- drained fertile soil. They are specially grown in flood plains as the soil there is renewed each year. The major drawback in the plantation of jute is that it has a very high cost and hence it is being replaced by the synthetic fibers in the market. The temperature required for its plantation is around 24 to 35 degree Celsius. The major jute producing states in our country are Bihar, Assam, Meghalaya, West Bengal and Orissa. After Bangladesh jute is grown in the largest quantity in our country.

Pros:

  • Strong - used to make hessian and burlap
  • Biodegradable
  • It is a strong, durable, color and light-fast fiber. It has high tensile strength, low extensibility, and ensures better breathability of fabrics
  • Moreover, jute can be grown in 4–6 months with a huge amount of cellulose being produced from the jute hurd (inner woody core or parenchyma of the jute stem) that can meet most of the wood needs of the world. Jute is the major crop among others that is able to protect deforestation by industrialisation. Thus, jute is the most environment-friendly fiber starting from the seed to expired fiber, as the expired fibers can be recycled more than once.
  • Its UV protection, sound and heat insulation, low thermal conduction and anti-static properties make it a wise choice in home décor. Also, fabrics made of jute fibres are carbon-dioxide neutral and naturally decomposable. These properties are also why jute can be used in high performance technical textiles.
  • Jute has low pesticide and fertiliser needs.
  • Advantages of jute include good insulating and antistatic properties, as well as having low thermal conductivity and a moderate moisture regain. Other advantages of jute include acoustic insulating properties and manufacture with no skin irritations.
  • Jute has the ability to be blended with other fibers, both synthetic and natural, and accepts cellulosic dye classes such as natural, basic, vat, sulfur, reactive, and pigment dyes. As the demand for natural comfort fibres increases, the demand for jute and other natural fibers that can be blended with cotton will increase. To meet this demand, some manufactures in the natural fibre industry plan to modernize processing with the Rieter's Elitex system. The resulting jute/cotton yarns will produce fabrics with a reduced cost of wet processing treatments. Jute can also be blended with wool. By treating jute with caustic soda, crimp, softness, pliability, and appearance is improved, aiding in its ability to be spun with wool. Liquid ammonia has a similar effect on jute, as well as the added characteristic of improving flame resistance when treated with flameproofing agents.
  • Jute can be processed with an enzyme in order to reduce some of its brittleness and stiffness. Once treated with an enzyme, jute shows an affinity to readily accept natural dyes, which can be made from marigold flower extract. In one attempt to dye jute fabric with this extract, bleached fabric was mordanted with ferrous sulphate, increasing the fabric's dye uptake value. Jute also responds well to reactive dyeing. This process is used for bright and fast coloured value-added diversified products made from jute.

Cons:
  • Some noted disadvantages include poor drapability and crease resistance, brittleness, fibre shedding, and yellowing in sunlight. However, preparation of fabrics with castor oil lubricants result in less yellowing and less fabric weight loss, as well as increased dyeing brilliance. 
  • Jute has a decreased strength when wet, and also becomes subject to microbial attack in humid climates. 



With credit to:

Mazharul Islam Kiron of Textile Learner 
  • Image credit sisal 1
  • Image credit sisal 2
  • Image credit sisal 3
  • Image credit sisal 4

Carol Kory of eHow
Marijuana and Cannabis blog
  • Image credit hemp 1
  • Image credit hemp 2
  • Image credit hemp 3
  • Image credit hemp 4
Wikipedia
Wikipedia
  • Image credit 1
  • Image credit 2
  • Image credit 3
  • Image credit 4

This entry (and this one) is of some interest too 

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