What is Ramie Fibre | Properties and Uses of Ramie Fibre

What is Ramie Fibre?
Ramie is a typical bast fibre from a plant known as reha and China grass. The fibre is stiff, more brittle than linen, and highly lustrous. It comes from a tall plant related to the nettle family that is grown in Asia and Europe. Each plant lasts for thirty years and can produce three crop yields per year. Basically ramie is grown in the tropical region and plant normally reaches a height of 1–1½ m. The leaves are broad and heart shaped. The white leaves have silvery hairs on their underside. The white ramie is popularly known as China grass. The green ramie is also grown.

ramie fibre
Fig: Ramie fibre

Ramie is one of the oldest vegetable fibres; used for mummy cloths in Egypt during 5000–3000 B. C. It belongs to the category of bast fibres and need chemical treatment to remove the gums and pectin found in the bark. The fibre is very fine like silk, and being naturally white in color does not need bleaching. Ramie is used to make a variety of products, including clothing, tablecloths, napkins, and handkerchiefs. Outside the clothing industry, ramie is used in fish nets, canvas, upholstery fabrics, straw hats and fire hoses.

Properties / Characteristics of Ramie Fibre:
Ramie is a very strong fibre in wet condition. It has the ability to hold shapes. It does not wrinkle and possesses silky lustre. It is often used in blends. It is similar to flax in absorbency, density and microscopic structure. It is however, less durable and does not dye well. The fibre is stiff and brittle. It shows poor resiliency and elasticity. Therefore, in spite of its high strength, it has limited use in textile. The yarn is quite hairy because of the lack of coherence, and the spinning and weaving of the fibre is difficult due to its brittleness and lack of elasticity. Ramie is resistant to bacteria, mildew, alkalis, rotting, light, and insect attack.

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Common properties of ramie fibres are given below:

  1. Strength: Ramie fibre is one of the strongest natural fibres and has high tensile strength, making it durable and resistant to tearing.
  2. Elasticity: It has good elasticity, which allows them to return to their original shape after being stretched or distorted.
  3. Shine: Ramie fibre has a natural shine, which gives them a lustrous appearance and makes them suitable for use in high-end clothing and accessories.
  4. Hypoallergenic: Ramie is hypoallergenic, making it a good choice for individuals with sensitive skin.
  5. Absorbency: This fibre is highly absorbent, making it ideal for use in towels, bed linens, and other home textiles.
  6. Biodegradability: Ramie is a biodegradable material, which means that it is environmentally friendly and can be safely disposed of without harming the environment.
  7. Versatility: Ramie fibers can be spun, dyed, and woven into a variety of fabrics, making them versatile and suitable for a range of applications.
  8. Dimensional Stability: These fibres have good dimensional stability, which means that they retain their shape and do not shrink or wrinkle easily.

Chemical Composition of Ramie Fibre:
Ramie fibre is degummed for making it usable as a textile fibre because fibres contain sticky resins. In fact, ramie fibre collects from the ramie plant. After analysis, it shows that ramie fibre is composed of the following chemical composition. Percentage of chemical composition of ramie fibre is given in below table.

Component Percentage
Cellulose 68.6 – 76.2%
Hemicellulose 13.1 – 16.7%
Lignin 0.6 -0.7%
Pectin 1.9%
Wax 0.3%

Uses / Application of Ramie Fibre:
Ramie fibre has a variety of uses due to its unique properties and characteristics, some of the common uses are:

  1. Textile industry: Ramie is used to make a range of textile products, including clothing, industrial sewing threads, linens, and home furnishings.
  2. Industrial applications: Ramie fiber is used in industrial applications, such as the production of twine, cordage, and ropes, due to its high tensile strength.
  3. Agricultural applications: It is used in the agricultural industry as a natural pesticide due to its ability to control pests and diseases.
  4. Environmental applications: Ramie is a biodegradable material, making it an environmentally friendly alternative to synthetic fibres in a variety of applications, including soil erosion control and the removal of oil spills.
  5. Traditional applications: In some cultures, Ramie is used to make traditional clothing and household items, such as mats and baskets.
ramie fabric
Fig: Ramie fabric

Use of Ramie tends to be restricted because the retting process is slow and the fibres contain sticky resins that must be removed. Plus, the yield is only half that of linen. Ramie is seldom used for garments worn next to the skin because it can cause a prickly and itchy sensation to the human skin, particularly when the skin is moistened, such as during humid summers.


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  4. Fibres to Fabrics by Bev Ashford
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  6. https://textilelearner.net/ramie-fibre-properties-of-ramie-fibre-uses/

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