Ramie is one of the most distinguished flowering plant. It is the part of the nettle family and most of the times it is located in the Eastern Africa. One of the notable facts about the plant is that it is an herbaceous perennial that can grow as tall as 2.5 meters. The leaves of the pants are heart shaped and they can grow about 6 cm long (Yu and Li, 2014). They are broad white in the outer appearance thus giving them some sort of a silvery appearance. Most of the times, it is confused with the stinging nettles but one of the key differences in both of the plants is the fact that while the leaves of the nettles are lush green, there is a dull texture to the Ramie fiber (Shuang et al. 2015).
History of the Plan
Ramie Fiber is most of the times witnessed in China. It has been therefore quite a few centuries now, and the farmers who used to work in the ancient China have used it an extensive level to make sure that the fiber can be created (Zhou et al. 2014). The fiber that is created from these plants is being used most of the times for the purpose to weave clothes. The fiber is also used in the mummies for the purpose of a wrapping cloth (Shuang et al. 2015). There is an open weave fabric with the name of Mechera that and Ramie Fiber has been used extensively for the production of that plant. It has been found to be particularly useful for when there are instances that the temperature has become too warm (Shuang et al. 2015).
Part of the reason that Ramie Fiber has been used at an extensive level is due to the fact that it is one of the stronger natural fibers. What it does is that it seems to show great strength especially when it is a bit moist (Zhaoling et al. 2016). Also, the fiber has been well known for its durability to hold its shape as well as making sure that the wrinkles that are often witnessed on the clothes are being reduced. Also, it tends to introduce somewhat a silky texture and thus not only the fabric that is made by it is rather durable as it does not lose its shape, it has also been found out to be elegant to say the least.
The dry weight that is harvested from the crops is bound to range between 3.4 to 4.5 t/ha/year. What it means is that there is a likelihood of the sizeable yield if the crops are taken care off in the right manner (Shuang et al. 2015). Now coming towards the extraction of the fiber, most of the times it is bound to occur in three stages (Shuang et al. 2015). The first stage is called as the cortex is the one where the removal of the bark is being done. In the next phase, it is made sure that the bark can be removed from the band and this process is termed as de-cortication (Yu and Li, 2014). After that, the cortex is removed so that the layer of the outer bark that is being formed can be removed one way or the another (Shuang et al. 2015). When all the process is completed, there is a final part in which it is made sure that the residual cortex material is washed and then dried to make sure that the creation of the spinnable fiber is correspondingly carried out (Shuang et al. 2015).
Despite the fact that ramie fiber has quite a few qualities that it would have been useful in textile, its usage is somewhat limited in the textile industry. One of the reasons that it has not been used a lot is due to the fact that its overall extraction and clearing process is not only time consuming, it is very expensive as well. The cost most of the times is incurred due to the extensive time that all these processes take as well as the difficulty through which it can be made. The other problem is that the fiber spinning is quite difficult here as the weaving is complicated by the hairy surface of the yarn. There is also the likelihood that the yarn would be damaged considerably during the whole process. Most of the times, due to its durability, it is used in the products that involved industrial use. Such as sewing, thread packing and wrapping of the raw materials (Zhaoling et al. 2016). At the moment, obviously Chine leads in the production of ramie and the main exporters are Japan and some other European countries.
As far as the production of the fiber is concerned, it is done after the harvesting season for the obvious reasons. When harvesting seasons is completed, the stems are decorticated. When the decorticated process is carried out, it is made sure that the plant is still fresh. It has to be noted that if the plant is not fresh during the course of the whole process, there is a strong likelihood that the leaves are going to dry out rather quickly and thus they become quite hard to remove later on. When that is done, the bark ribbon is then being used and it is dried as quickly as possible. It is also an important part as it makes sure that the bacteria and other fungi do not attack the plants (Yu and Li, 2014).
Du, Shuang-lan, et al. “Flame-retardant wrapped ramie fibers towards suppressing “candlewick effect” of polypropylene/ramie fiber composites.” Chinese Journal of Polymer Science 33.1 (2015): 84-94.
Li, Zhaoling, et al. “High-efficiency ramie fiber degumming and self-powered degumming wastewater treatment using triboelectric nanogenerator.” Nano Energy 22 (2016): 548-557.
Yu, Tao, Ning Jiang, and Yan Li. “Study on short ramie fiber/poly (lactic acid) composites compatibilized by maleic anhydride.” Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing 64 (2014): 139-146.
Zhou, Mi, et al. “Interfacial crystallization enhanced interfacial interaction of poly (butylene succinate)/ramie fiber biocomposites using dopamine as a modifier.” Composites science and technology 91 (2014): 22-29.