All about cotton

Cotton, the basis of our products

Cotton forms the basis of many of our products. In this article everything about cotton.

WHAT IS IT

Cotton is fluff that grows around cotton plant seeds. The fruits of the cotton plant burst open when ripe, revealing a cotton boll: the seed fluff. Cotton fibres are two to five centimetres long, and spun into yarn.

THE COTTON PLANT

Various varieties of cotton plants are used to make cotton. Upland or Mexican Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) is used for 90 percent of the global production of cotton.

CHARACTERISTICS OF COTTON

Cotton is a flat, twisted fibre, so not shiny. This results in stiff fibres which grip each other well in a yarn. The cotton fibre is surrounded by the cuticle, a thin layer of wax, which makes the fibre stiff and water-repellent. Cotton has to be processed to be bleached and colored. This material is widely used for clothing because it breathes well and can absorb moisture, making it excellent at removing sweat. Cotton is very popular for clothing and work clothing because it is comfortable and durable.

HISTORY

Cotton has a rich history, dating right back to ancient Egypt. Cotton production changed radically thanks to the British industrial revolution and the invention of the spinning jenny in 1764. The cotton gin, invented in 1793, allowed cotton fibres to be separated from the seeds, considerably reducing the prices of cotton products.

THE POPULARITY OF COTTON

The properties and new production methods only partly explain why cotton became so popular. Another reason is that cotton only loses 10 percent of its raw weight during processing, which was and is highly appeciated by traders.

THE PROCESSING OF COTTON

Cotton is processed into yarns, which are then used to make clothing. Cotton fibres are surrounded by a thin layer of wax called the cuticle. Cotton cannot be bleached or colored without removing this cuticle, a process which involves boiling the yarns or fabrics in a solution of soda or caustic soda in a kier or boiler. The cotton can then be bleached or colored. Combed cotton is combed before being spun into yarn.

COMBED OR UNCOMBED

Combed cotton is better quality than uncombed cotton. The cotton is combed before spinning, which removes the shortest and most vulnerable yarns. The result is higher quality cotton with increased durability. Tricorp only uses combed cotton.

 

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