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Soybean and Bamboo

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Wild Fibres natural fibres > plant fibres > soyabean & bamboo

Soybean Silk & Bamboo Silk Fibre

  1. Soybean Silk Fibre
  2. Bamboo Silk Fibre


Soybean Silk Fibre

Soybean fibre -  Mike RobertsHenry Ford hired chemists Robert Boyer and Frank Calvert to produce artificial silk in 1931. They succeeded in making a textile fibre of spun soy protein fibres but it never reached the commercial market.

Soy silk
Buy soybean tops for spinning

High quality soybean fibre is now made commerciall y from "okara" (soy pulp), a by-product of tofu production. Soy pulp is the insoluble part of soybean that remains when pureed soybeans are filtered in the production of soy milk. It is high in fibre and contains protein.

Giant Bamboo in Ecuador (after Scotteaux)Bamboo Silk Fibre 
Bamboo is a very-fast growing grass that can produce shoots of up to a metre per day. It is ready for harvesting in 4 years and does not require re-planting as the extensive root base sprouts new shoots readily. It is therefore a highly sustainable plant to grow.

The fibre is produced either mechanically or chemically.

In the mechanical process, the woody stems are crushed and natural enzymes break down the stems so that the fibres can be combed out and spun, as in the production of flax. This labour-intensive process is used to produce bamboo linen.

Bamboo tops
Buy bamboo tops for spinning

In the chemical process, the bamboo is again crushed but leaves and pith may both be used. In older factories, the chemicals are sodium hydroxide and carbon disulphide that break down the bamboo cellulose to create a viscose cellulose solution. This is forced through spinneret nozzles into a dilute acid solution where the extruded filaments solidify and re-convert into bamboo fibre threads that can be spun into a bamboo fibre yarn.

Bamboo sliver -  Mike RobertsIn newer, more eco-friendly factories, the Lyocell process is used with non-toxic solvents and a closed-loop process that captures and recycles 99.5% of the chemicals used.

The resulting bamboo silk fibre has a natural sheen and softness that feels and drapes like silk but is less expensive and claimed to be more durable (see the Organic Clothing blog for more information).

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Teresinha at Wild Fibres
Studio I-319, Scott House, The Custard Factory
Gibb Street, Birmingham B9 4DT, UK

Contact Teresinha for enquiries on
Tel:  +44 (0)7979 770865
email: info@wildfibres.co.uk

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Last updated on 31 January 2017
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