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Bamboo-A Green Fibre

Published: May 17, 2012

Bamboo fibre is a cellulose fibre which is extracted from naturally grown bamboo and is the fifth-largest natural fibre after cotton, linen, wool and silk. Bamboo fibre not only has good air permeability, water absorption, strong wear-resistance and good dyeing and other features, but also has natural antibacterial, antimicrobial, mites, anti-odor and anti-ultraviolet. Bamboo fibre is a natural, environment friendly green fibre.

History of Bamboo fibre   

The use of bamboo goes back a long time. In fact, bamboo has been considered to be a symbol of good fortune in Asian cultures for over 4,000 years. Historically in Asia, bamboo was used for the hand-made production of paper. Bamboo has traditionally been used in China to make musical instruments, drinking cups, buckets, fishing rods, walls and structural posts, wicker furniture, rafts, carpets and even phonograph needles. Many of these bamboo components are still being used today.

Extraction of Bamboo Fibre 

Two types of processing are done to obtain bamboo fibres- Mechanical Processing and Chemical Processing. In both the processes, the raw bamboo has to be split to get bamboo strips. After that, bamboo fibre is extracted either through chemical or mechanical processing.

  • Chemical Processing:It is basically a hydrolysis alkalization process. The crushed bamboo is “cooked” with the help of Sodium hydroxide (NaOH) which is also known as caustic soda or lye into a form of regenerated cellulose fibre. Hydrolysis alkalization is then done through carbon disulfide combined with multi-phase bleaching. Although chemical processing is not environmental friendly but it is preferred by many manufacturers as it is a less time consuming process.
  • Mechanical Processing:In this method, the crushed bamboo is treated with biological enzymes. This breaks the bamboo into a mushy mass and individual fibres are then combed out. Although expensive, this process is eco-friendly.

Properties of bamboo fibre

  1. Strong durability, stability & tenacity
  2. Round and smooth surface
  3. Anti-bacterial
  4. Excellent wet permeability, moisture vapour transmission property
  5. Softer than cotton
  6. Moisture absorbency is twice than that of cotton with extraordinary soil release value
  7. Anti-ultraviolet
  8. Products of bamboo fibre are eco-friendly and bio-degradable.

End use of Bamboo fibre                                                                                                       

Currently, the main uses of bamboo products are:

  1. Bedding series: Mattresses, pillows, bedspreads, sheets, etc.
  2. Fashion series: Knitting, weaving high-grade fabrics, underwear, vest, socks, towels and other clothing. Its anti-ultraviolet nature is suitable to make summer clothing more suitable for the elderly, infants and pregnant women.
  3. Medical and Mine protection: Use as absorption fibre, conductive and anti-static radiation function. More suitable for protective clothing for on-site work clothes in medical, mining, oil and gas operations.
  4. Military Space: Bamboo viscose fibre is used in missile, rocket launchers and other operator protective clothing.
  5. Transportation and Tourism: Bamboo viscose fibre is suitable for cars, boats, transport aircraft seat fabrics and interior products, also suitable for hotels, halls and other decorative items.
  6. Home Interior: Bamboo flooring
Use of bamboo as plant Use of bamboo as material
Ornamental horticulture



Stabilize of the soil

Uses on marginal land

Hedges and screens

Minimal land use



Natural stands


Mixed agro-forestry systems

Local industries



A variety of utensils


Wood and paper industries

Strand boards

Medium density fiberboard

Laminated lumber

Paper and rayon


Nutritional industries

Young shoots for human consumption

Mixed agro-forestry systems Fodder

Chemical industries

Biochemical products

Pharmaceutical industry





Various uses of bamboo [Gielis 2002]

Bamboo Fibre Production Flow Chart

Bamboo tree—cutting into bamboo sheet—(hydrolyzing — stewing — Bleaching)—pulp —(saturate) —Cellulose— (dissolving—spinning—Cutting) — after treatment (washing— oil adding—drying-)—bamboo fiber—Packing

Future scope of bamboo fibre

Bamboo fabric is not only popular for its softness and versatility, but also for its environmental friendly quality. Bamboo fibre requires very less chemical and water for production and processing. The pulp is bleached without using chlorine. This is more environmental friendly than the way other textiles are made. The bamboo pulp is also very easy to dye and it takes less water and harsh chemicals than conventional dyeing methods. There are also great environmental values to bamboo fabric. From being a completely renewable resource to being easy to process, bamboo fabric is an ecologically friendly choice for the future. It’s cool in summer, warm in winter, is anti-bacterial and is as soft and luxurious as cashmere. And best of all, it’s sustainable.





Bhawana Rawat, Assistant Professor in NIFT, MUMBAI.

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