What is Jute Fibre?
Jute fibre is a type of plant fibre which is widely known for its ability to be spun into strong and coarse threads. Individual jute fibres are known to be soft, long, and shiny in nature. The plants belonging to the genus Corchorus are believed to be the primary producers of this fibre. It is important to note that the fibres that are used in the production of gunny cloth, hessian cloth, or burlap cloth are usually jute fibres.
Commercially, jute is believed to be one of the most affordable and economic plant fibres (along with cotton fibres). The key chemical components of jute fibres are lignin and cellulose. The term ‘lignin’ is used to refer to a class of complex organic polymers. Cellulose is an organic polysaccharide which consists of a linear chain (straight-chain) of hundreds (or sometimes thousands) of D-glucose molecules linked to each other.
Jute fibres are usually classified as bast fibres, which are the plant fibres that can be collected from the bast or the phloem that surrounds the stem of the plant. Other notable examples of fibres derived from the phloem or the bast of the producing plants include linen (derived from the bast of the flax plant), industrial hemp, and kenaf (also known as Java jute and Deccan hemp). It can be noted that jute fibres are usually brown to off-white in colour. The typical length of jute fibre ranges from 1 to 4 metres. It is important to note that jute is sometimes referred to as the golden fibre owing to its high cash value and its colour.
What are the Desirable Properties of Jute Fibre?
The key properties of jute fibres are listed below.
- Jute fibres are relatively cheap and therefore affordable by many people.
- Jute fibre is also known to be quite soft.
- Another desirable property of jute is that it is quite lustrous.
- The uniformity of the fibres obtained from the jute plant also makes them highly desirable commercially.
- Jute plants yield fibres of relatively high length.
- Jute is also known as the golden fibre due to its highly versatile nature.
Applications of Jute Fibres
Some important uses of jute fibres are listed below.
- The primary application of jute fibres is in the production of matting and twine. This fibre is also widely used in the making of rope.
- Jute may be used along with sugar as a part of aeroplanes.
- In order to prevent the erosion of soils due to floods, jute matting is a viable option to secure the soil. In fact, such methods are often employed after the establishment of natural vegetation.
- Another key advantage of jute fibre for the matting and securing of soil is that the fibre is completely biodegradable and natural.
- Jute is also used in the production of cloth and sacks. However, it is important to note that the cloth produced from jute fibres are usually very coarse and, therefore, unsuitable for human clothing. However, they are widely used in the production of sacks for the storage of many products.
- Jute fibres are also known to be employed in the production of certain types of curtains.
- Some carpets and area rugs are also known to be derived from jute fibres. It is not uncommon for this fibre to be used in chair coverings as well.
Jute fibres are also used in the production of hessian cloth. Furthermore, these fibres are also used in backing for linoleum (a type of floor covering).
- Young trees are often planted in containers that are made up of jute fibres. These trees can be planted directly with the container intact. The jute container will not disturb the roots of the tree and will also work to prevent the erosion of the soil around the tree. The fibre is also biodegradable and will eventually be broken down.
- Jute fibres are also known to be used in the manufacture of canvas and carpet backing cloth (often abbreviated to CBC). It is not uncommon for the fibre to also be employed in the manufacture of scrim and Hessian cloth.
Frequently Asked Questions on Jute Fibre
How are Jute fibres obtained?
Jute is derived from the Corchorus capsularis and Corchorus olitorius plants. These plants are known to be native to the Indian subcontinent and are usually cultivated year-round. The jute fibres are concentrated mainly close to the woody, central parts of the stalk. These fibres are mostly composed of cellulose and lignin. The two most popular types of jute produced are brown jute and white jute. It can be noted that brown jute is known to be thicker, softer and silkier.
Why is jute widely considered to be an environment-friendly fibre?
Jute fibres are known to be completely biodegradable and compostable. These fibres are also recyclable and can, therefore, be reused. Furthermore, bags made up of these fibres are known to be relatively more resistant to damage than plastic bags. Therefore, a single jute bag can be used for a much longer duration than a plastic bag. It can also be noted that the cultivation of jute plants can also increase the fertility of the soil they’re grown in (towards certain types of crops). Therefore, jute is widely considered to be an eco-friendly plant fibre.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of jute fibre?
The advantages of jute fibres are:
- Jute fibres are very strong.
- These fibres are very breathable (they are porous enough to allow the circulation of air).
- Jute fibres are highly versatile.
Jute fibres are quite cheap and cost-effective.
- Jute fibres are also environment-friendly and biodegradable.
- Synthetic fibres can be blended with jute fibres in order to impart certain qualities to it.
The disadvantages of jute fibres are:
- Jute fibres are known to be prone to creasing.
- When exposed to water, it is not uncommon for jute fibres to lose some of their tensile strength.
- When expensed to sunlight, jute fibres may undergo decolouration.
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