C.Col FSDC ( UK),CText FTI ( Manchester ), FRSC ( UK ),FAIC(USA)
SHREE PUSHKAR CHEMICALS & FERTILISERS LTD.
(301-302, Atlanta Center, Near Udyog Bhawan,
Sonawala Road, Goregaon (East )
Mumbai 400063. India
The basic necessities of life are the human survival four aspects .Along with society’s progress and development of material civilization development , people ‘s value on clothing are keep on increasing . The fashion industry therefore has been gone through generations of revolution in order to meet general’s expectation . In recent years , there are few aspects that regards as important for different kinds of clothing which are follows
- Material multiplication .
- Light and easy wearing cuts .
- Which are stylish and trendy .
- Design to suitable for wearing in specific occasions .
Especially in past two years , International and domestic markets have paid a lot of attention to the development of textile that are eco-friendly .
The definition of eco-friendly textile are as below ;
- Raw material is recyclable and reusable .
- Non-damage to natural environment during manufacturing and processing .
- Safe to customers .
- Bio-degradable when discarded .
The development enhances better quality of life , guarantees human’s health and environment –friendly , which without doubt was a watershed in the fashion industry revolution .Some of the animal Hair fibres satisfying the above criteria is already in use in textile industries like Camel Hair ,Mohair ,Cashmere and Alpaca . But there are also few hair fibres identified by the FTC which are used for specialized purposes and for a limited extent . These are as follows ;
- Cow hair –obtained from the hides of slaughtered cows .It is used for felts and coarse rugs and cushions .
- Horsehair –obtained primarily from horses ‘ manes and tails . It is used as a shape retainer in suits and coats and for stuffing in mattresses and upholstery .
- Rabbit hair –obtained from the common rabbit . It is used for felt in hats .
The fur of animals such as the rabbit has long been used as textile fibre . There are two types of fur fibre ;
A. an outer coat of long ,spiky fibres acts as a protective covering .
B. an inner coat of soft , fine fibres which keeps the animal warm .
Angora rabbit- hair ( often described erroneously as ‘ angora wool ‘ ) has been in widespread use in European countries for a century or more .
Angora is the hair of the Angora rabbit produced in Europe ,Chile ,China and the United States .The Angora rabbit is a variety of domestic rabbit for its long , soft hair .The Angora is one of the oldest types of domestic rabbit ,originating in Ankara ,Turkey , along with the Angora cat and Angora goat . The rabbits were popular pets with French royalty in the mid 1700 s , and spread to other parts of Europe by the end of the century .They first appeared in the United States in the early 1900 s .
There are bred largely for their long angora wool , which may be removed by shearing ,combing , or plucking ( gently pulling loose wool ) . The Angora rabbit produces long ,fine , silky white hair that is clipped or combed every 3 to 4 months . It is harvested up to four times a year by plucking or shearing . The finest angora comes from France,Italy , and Japan .The Angora rabbit is also raised in many other parts of the world , including the United States .Fibre yield and quality vary with the rabbit and its health and breed, and ranges from 8 to 30 oz . Of the four breeds of Angora rabbits , the two most common types are English and French .English Angoras produce a fine silky fibre ; French Angoras produce a coarser fibre .
Rabbits of the angora breed are adorned with “ fur “ ,growths of wool on the ears and the entire face except above the nose , and front feet , along with their thick body , and wool .They are gentle in nature , but they are not recommended for those who do not groom their animals . Their fur is very thick and needs to be groomed a lot .The French Angora is one of the largest Angora breeds at 7 ½ to 10 lbs ., with a commercial body type .It differs from the English and German Angora in that it possesses a clean face and front feet with only minor tufting on the rear legs .
The rabbits are clipped every three months ; the fibres are 7.5 cm ( 3 inch) long .The outer ‘ guard hairs ‘ are separated from the fine fur by blowing the fibres in a stream of air . Both hair and fine fur are used for making textiles , the former giving strength and beauty to the fabric and latter warmth and softness . The two types of fibres are mixed in such proportions as to provide the desired effect.
Structure and properties –
Angora wool , the speciality hair fibre obtained from Angora rabbit has special characteristics like excellent whiteness , superb softness , lightness and warmth .
The fibre ‘s smooth , silky texture makes it difficult to spin and the fibres tend to slip out of the yarn and shed from the fabric ; nevertheless , the fibre is desired for its texture , warmth ,light weight and pure white colour , although it is sometimes dyed in light shades . The white or naturally coloured fibre is very fine ( 13 microns ) , fluffy ,soft , slippery , and fairly long . Angora does not take dye well and usually has a lighter colour than other fibres with which it is blended . It has great economic value in woolen textile industry for manufacture of speciality fabrics . Having special characteristics and rare availability ,it is a very costly fibre .The products of angora wool have high demand in elite group of consumers . The normal angora rabbit hair used is of 14 – 16 micron . The dimensions of rabbit fibres vary over a wide range . In general , the fine fibres are less than 20 mm ( ¾ in) , whereas the guard hairs are 50-60 mm in staple length .
The cross-section also varies such as the fine fur fibres are round ,oval or rectangular . The coarser guard hairs are often dumb-bell shaped , or in the form of a sharp-edged oval . The scales on the surface of fine fur fibres are fairly uniform in shape . They often extend half-way round the fibre . Scales on the guard hairs have serrated edges , and the edges often run slantwise across the fibre . Both types of fibres have thick medullas , which contain many pockets of air .
The keratin of fur fibres is probably a mixture of several closely related proteins .The chemical behaviour of these fibres is generally similar to that of wool and other animal fibres . Water is absorbed less readily by rabbit fibres than it is by wool . Hot water tends to soften or plasticize the fibres . Alkalis dissolve fur fibres .
Before dyeing with acid dyes angora rabbit hair is given a pretreatment using sodium hydroxide with concentration of 1.5 % w/v for 15 minutes at 25 deg c . It gives good swelling , sufficient fibre strength , better dye uptake and good fastness properties .
Blending of rabbit hair fibre –
It is often blended with wool to facilitate spinning because the slick fibre has poor cohesiveness . However ,like other speciality fibres , rabbit hairs also poses difficulty when processed alone due to its lesser scale height and absence of inter fibre cohesion . It is believed that while in use , part of this fibre drops away from the products . Generally blending of two fibre helps in exploiting the outstanding positive attributes of each fibre and at the same time offers effective means of minimizing the negative characteristic of individual components . And so to increase the fibre cohesion rabbit hair is utilized mainly in blends with other fibres . The blending of rabbit hair imparts excellent effect to the product . Angora rabbit hair can be blended with wool/cotton and spun in cotton and woolen spinning systems . Latest it is blended with viscose fibre and spun in the cotton spinning system . The most popular blend is Angora rabbit hair /viscose in 20/80 blend ratio .
The blending of Angora rabbit hair leads to the improvement of yarn properties suitable for the garment production .
Uses of Rabbit hair fibre –
Angora rabbit hair is used primarily for items such as sweaters , mittens , baby clothes , and millinery . It is also used in apparel such as sweaters and suitings and in knitting yarn . If a label states “ rabbit hair “ , this means the fibre is from a common rabbit , not an Angora rabbit .Rabbit hair is often used to make felt for hats , but is too short to make into yarns for woven or knitted fabrics . Rabbit hair and fur are used very largely for making felts and for knitted goods such as cardigans , gloves and berets . For knitted goods they are usually belnded with wool before spinning .
Rabbit fibre fabrics have an attractive appearance and a soft luxurious handle . They wash like wool , and tend to felt very easily . This property is made use of in the manufacture of ‘felts ‘.
Rabbit fibre has got good scope in India . Vardhman and Oswal group can mix rabbit hair with wool and acrylic fibre and make yarn for sweaters and cardigans and export the products with a special premium price . Similarly Worsted units like Raymonds, Jayashree , Digjam , Reliance also can try blending rabbit hair with wool and make premium safari suits , blazers etc and export to American and European countries.