The World's only Natural FR Fabric System utilises wool and bast fibres to create a natural FR System for Fabrics without the need for chemical coatings
The continuing use of Hydro-Carbons for coating a textile product to ensure it meets stringent Legislations and Regulations in regards to performance criteria is well-known to have a harmful and damaging effect on the natural environment. The impact on eco systems in parts of the world has been devastating and it will take years, if not decades, for this to begin to reverse if at all possible. Industry needs to play a key part in reducing toxicity to the environment, whilst maintaining all safety aspects and concerns and meeting international safety guidelines. Camira teamed up with De Montfort University, Leicester, to develop an industry first fabric made from wool and nettle fibre made from the common stinging nettle. The project encompassed research into nettle cultivation on UK farmland. This involved all methods from harvesting and fibre extraction all the way through blending, spinning, weaving and dyeing. Nettles grow rapidly and grow easily on land unfit for arable crops. Nettle cultivation also encourages bio-diversity, providing a natural habitat for birds and insects.
Hemp is grown as a crop under licence from the UK Government Home Office. The plant used, Cannabis Sativa, contains only minute amounts of the psychoactive substance THC. For every hectare of land 45kg of seed is sown, producing 6 tonnes of hemp straw which produces 1 tonne of hemp fibre. After harvesting the leaves decompose and act as a natural fertilizer for the following year.
Plentiful supply of Bast Fibres and a Woollen System Yarn Manufacturing Process. There is no new technology required and can be undertaken with minimal disruption to the manufacturing plant.
Evidence of success
The Good Practice utilises the long held knowledge that Wool is a very good Fire Retardant fibre and by blending it with fibres such as Hemp, Jute or Nettle Fibres, the resultant yarn or fabric enhances the properties of each fibre and creates a FR fabric which is greater in efficiency than if the fibres were used individually rather than as a blend. The fabrics have been fully tested to recognised ISO, EN, BS Standards and pass all the relevant test procedures to ensure their safety.
Creating the correct fibre blend mix and the settings required to ensure the manufacturing process delivered a yarn with the correct parameters.
Potential for learning or transfer
Industrial Hemp, Nettles, Jute etc. all are all capable of being grown in the Northern Hemisphere in most regions. They are a crop which will require little or no Chemical Pesticide to eliminate pests or weeds as there are no natural predators. The crops will also grow so quickly that weeds and unwanted vegetation cannot compete for light therefore will not grow and strangle/affect the growth of the crop. Harvesting/Retting/Scutching etc. is already practised in various northern regions and so can easily be applied to these new crops. The GP also shows that by utilising these crops with certain keratin based protein natural fibres we can heavily reduce the amount of chemicals in use for FR where possible and product dependent. Potentially could create another source of income for local farmers/growers which could also assist in crop rotation.