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The cross section becomes circular and the corkscrew spirals disappear. Through this change the density and brilliance of this product is increased. In addition the humidity absorption worsens. Mercerised cotton can much more easily be dyed than untreated cotton. Cotton are the monocellular trichomes of the seed fibres of the cotton plants (Gossypium hirsutum) who in turn belong to the trichomes. The cotton plant itself belongs to the family of the mallow plants (Malvaceae). When the fruits of the cotton plant are ripe they burst open and cotton clusters as thick as a fist appear with fibres of up to 50 mm length. After plucking the cotton will be dried in the sun and the cores are being removed.

Cotton is classified according to the size of the stack:

Long staples of cotton: > 35mm, e.g. Egyptian cotton and Mako-cotton. This cotton is fine, of silky brightness and mostly off-white. Medium staples of cotton: 25 … 35mm, e.g. Upland-cotton (80% of the world’s production) and American cotton, which is white till yellowish. Short staples of cotton: < 25mm, e.g. Indian cotton which is generally yellowish-white till brownish and of lower quality because this cotton is uneven and hard.

Besides the long fibres cotton also contains the socalled cotton-inters. These are short felt-hairs (2…4mm) obtained through a second core removing. Due to the short staples they can not be used for spinning. Instead they are the raw material for chemical and cotton fibres on the basis of cellulose and used for the production of cotton wool. Most valuable is the long-staple fine-grained cotton. Long cotton fibres have excellent qualities for spinning, tensile strength, colourability and durability. As cotton can be easily spun it is the most important and most processed herbal natural fibre.



 

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