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Flax Fibre: Processing Technology


Flax,  the  source  of  linen  is  a  versatile  crop  that  can  be  grown  in a variety of climates throughout  the  world. Its scientific name Linum  usitatissimum  L.translated  as  "linen  most  beautiful" aptly describes this versatility . Flax is one of the oldest textile fibres,  and  known  to  be  the  first  woven  and  spun  vegetable fibre.  The  art  of  weaving  flax  was  so  advanced  in  ancient  Rome that  wearing  of  'linen  cloth'  was  considered  to  be  a  sign  of aristocracy  and  gleaming  whiteness  of  linen  as  symbol  of purity . In fact the word 'candidate' used for office seekers has its origin from Latin word 'candidus' which means white linen. Flax fibres are found  in  the  outer regions  of the  flax plant stem between  the  cuticle  and  the  woody  core  tissues.  Flax  fibres  are sought  in  textiles  due  to  its  favourable  qualities  like  high hygr oscopicity,   high  absorption,   and  anti-electrostatic properties,  which  provide  comfortable  clothing.  They  are lustrous,  less  stretchy ,  more  durable  and  better  resistant  to environmental  fluctuations  than  cotton  and  jute.  It's  a  winter crop  and  grows  well  on  deep  moisture retentive  soil. Almost every part of its plant is commercially utilized either directly or after  processing.
India  occupies 1 1.82 percent of world acreage and ranks  third in  area  of  the  flax  crop  after  Canada and  China but  in  India  flax has been grown exclusively for  its  seed. The seed and its  oil are  directly  used  for  human  consumption  as  nutritional  flax seeds  and  for  industrial  oil  in  paint  and  varnish.  Deseeded flax plant  stalk  yields  good  quality,  very  useful  flax  fibre  having strength  and  durability,  used  by  textile  industry  as  speciality fibres to create a distinctive fabric with unique characteristics. Despite such properties, this fibre failed to attract attention on commercial  basis  and  is  thrown  as  waste  throughout  the greater portion of the  principal flaxseed producing regions  of India  due  to  lack  of  extraction  technologies  and  utilization  of indigenous  flax  for  industrial purposes.  A  number  of  dual purpose  (DP)  varieties  including  Gaurav,  Shikha,  Rashmi, Parwati  and  Ruchi  released  from  CSAUAT ,  Kanpur  are suitable  for  both oil  and  fibre  purposes.  In  view  of  fibre producing ability of dual purpose flax without affecting  seed or oil yield, the  efforts  are now being made for  its  cultivation for fibre  product.  As  its  cultivation  appears  to  be  remunerative,  this fibre  indicates  its  versatility  for  various  end  uses  in  textiles  as  it is  or  in  blends  with suitable  textile  fibres. Read more.......

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