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Bamboo Fiber and Its Industrial Development in China

Bamboo fiber originated in China and is called "Chinese fiber" and "breathing fiber" by Southeast Asian, European and American countries. Bamboo fiber industry is a typical representative of the new industry in the field of forestry industry in China. In order to further understand its development status and industrial development prospects, and to explore new ways to develop and utilize bamboo and bamboo materials instead of cotton, the research group of China Forestry Industry Association has recently conducted extensive consultation and communication with experts in bamboo industry, relevant scientific research department, management department, China Bamboo Industry Association and other units and departments.

Bamboo fiber is a kind of renewable plant fiber extracted from bamboo, which is the fifth natural fiber applied by human after cotton, hemp, wool and silk. Chinese scientists and enterprises have developed successful bamboo fiber textile materials, and quickly began the industrial operation of bamboo fiber. Bamboo fiber has unique properties. Recently, bamboo fiber underwear, socks, bamboo fiber shirts and other products made from bamboo fiber are very popular, which makes bamboo fiber become the new favorite in textile market because of its "green" and "healthy" image.


1. The development history of bamboo fiber

Cellulose fiber as the earliest man-made fiber has a history of more than 100 years, and the annual production of cellulose fiber in the world now exceeds more than 5 million tons. Since the 21st century, as the world's population increases and the scale of industrialization expands, the energy crisis, food crisis, resource depletion and other phenomena have emerged one after another, so the cellulose fiber produced by nature is of great concern. As the traditional cotton, hemp, natural cellulose fiber in the production of raw materials are subject to the bottleneck of resource shortage. For example, there is the problem of "cotton competing cropland with food". Therefore, people focus more and more on the development and use of new natural, renewable cellulose fiber. In recent years, because people's green consciousness is getting stronger, and health care requirements continue to improve, in the use of textile raw materials, they more tend to choose cotton, hemp, wool, silk and other natural materials or blended materials. Whether it is possible to develop more natural materials has become the subject of research. Wood fiber, soy protein fiber, etc. came into being. Bamboo fiber is also the success of the development of a natural textile materials after these.

It is understood that in the 1960s and 1970s, bamboo fiber has been put into the garment industry in China, but at that time, many excellent properties of bamboo fiber have not been developed and have not been fully recognized by the market.

At the beginning of this century, with the further maturity of the production and utilization technology, bamboo fiber has only been recognized and rapidly developed in the market with its green concept and unique antibacterial, deodorant, moisture absorption and moisture release, anti-UV and other excellent properties.

2. The significance of developing bamboo fiber industry

China is the world's richest country in bamboo resources, with more than 40 genera and 500 species of bamboo, and the area of bamboo forest accounts for 1/4 of the total area of bamboo forest in the world. According to the statistics of the sixth national forest resources inventory, China has 79 million mu (1 mu = 666.67 ㎡) of bamboo forest, and increases at an average annual rate of 1.8 million mu. Bamboo is a fast-growing, high-yielding plant that only needs to be planted once, and can be planted on slopes and depressions. Bamboo has a strong regenerative capacity, short lumbering period. It has the characteristics of one planting and permanent utilization.

The development of bamboo fiber industry is conducive to building a resource-saving and environment-friendly socialist harmonious society, and plays an important role in promoting farmers' income and developing regional economy. At the same time, it also breaks through the traditional application field of bamboo materials, enriches the connotation of bamboo culture, and conforms to the trend of development of the times.

It is conducive to the conservation of forest resources and the saving of arable land resources. Fibers made from bamboo have many excellent properties compared with those made from cotton and wood. The development of bamboo forest does not compete with grain and cotton for cropland, which can reduce the occupation of arable land. Using bamboo to produce fiber pulp alleviates the growing contradiction between the supply and demand of plant fiber raw materials, to a certain extent achieves "bamboo instead of cotton, bamboo instead of wood", and is conducive to the comprehensive protection of forest resources, saving arable land resources, and finding an effective way the rational use of bamboo resources. It is estimated that the production of 1 ton of cotton needs 10 mu of arable land. According to 1 ton of bamboo fiber replacing 1 ton of cotton, bamboo fiber production in China has saved 24 million acres of arable land resource.

Promote the economic development of bamboo areas and bamboo farmers to get rich. The expansion of bamboo fiber production has broadened the scope of bamboo utilization, increased the added value of resources, promoted the economic development of bamboo-producing regions, increased the enthusiasm of bamboo farmers in production and management, and provided employment opportunities in many aspects of bamboo production, harvesting, acquisition and transportation. Most of the bamboo species used in bamboo fiber are yellow bamboo and sinocalamus affinis, which belong to the sympodial bamboo, and the price is slightly higher than that of bamboo for papermaking and lower than that of single bamboo for making plates, but the added value of bamboo fiber is much higher than that of bamboo pulp paper and plates, and the profit margin is much higher than that of bamboo pulp paper.

Reduce the consumption of non-renewable resources. Bamboo is a renewable resource with fast growth rate and high regeneration capacity. The scale and industrial development of bamboo fiber products have a certain substitution effect on the fiber produced by petrochemical raw materials and reduce the consumption of non-renewable resources such as petroleum in China.

It broadens the application field of bamboo materials and enriches the connotation of bamboo culture. China is a large bamboo resource country, with a long tradition of bamboo culture and bamboo application history. The emergence of bamboo fiber products has broken through the traditional sense of bamboo applications, and become another bright spot to promote the development of China's bamboo industry. At the same time, the bamboo culture with a long history is introduced into the daily life of thousands of households, popularizing and enriching the connotation of bamboo culture, promoting national cultural traditions and enhancing national cohesion with the spirit of bamboo; advocate ecological concepts with bamboo culture, and conform to the requirements of socialist ecological civilization construction and sustainable development of the times.

3. The main performance characteristics of bamboo fiber:

Bamboo fiber has good moisture absorption and breathability, strong blending, good drape, comfortable and cool feelings. Bamboo fiber has a natural antibacterial function, in line with the modern trend of pursuing health and comfort, which is especially unique.

The antibacterial and anti-UV functions of bamboo fiber. According to the test, when it is observed under the microscope, bacteria of the same number in cotton and wood fiber products can multiply, while in bamboo fiber fabric after 24 hours they are killed about 95%. The UV penetration rate of bamboo fiber is 0.6%, much lower than that of cotton fiber. This natural function of bamboo fiber is essentially different from the antibacterial agent and anti-ultraviolet agent added in the post-treatment of other fabrics and it has been fully utilized in clothing fabrics, non-woven fabrics, bedding, sanitary products and other aspects. After repeated washing and insolation, it will not lose its antibacterial, bacteriostatic and anti-ultraviolet functions.

The moisture absorption and breathability of bamboo fiber. The cross section of bamboo fiber is uneven and deformed, covered with nearly oval pores, is highly hollow, and the capillary effect is very strong, so it can instantly absorb and evaporate a lot of water. In the temperature of 20 ℃, relative humidity is 65%, moisture rate is 12%; in the temperature of 20 ℃, relative humidity is 95%, moisture rate is 45%, the top of most fibers. In the temperature of 36 ℃, under the condition of 100% relative humidity, the moisture return rate of bamboo fiber can reach 45%, and the moisture absorption rate is particularly fast: changing from 8.75% moisture return rate to 45% moisture return rate only takes about 6 hours. Under the same condition, the moisture regain rate of other fibers and the rate of moisture absorption is far less than those of bamboo fiber. Bamboo fiber is 3.5 times more breathable than cotton, and is known as the "breathing fiber". Clothes made from bamboo fiber are more suitable than other fibers for making sportswear, summer clothing and intimate apparel.

The drapability and floating property of bamboo fiber. According to the test, the crystallinity of bamboo fiber is 40%, while the crystallinity of ordinary viscose fiber is 30%. The draping coefficient of bamboo fiber is 41%, the static friction coefficient is 0.198, the dynamic friction coefficient is 0.177, and the specific gravity is 1.52. It can be seen that the specific gravity of bamboo fiber is relatively large, which gives its fabric better drapability; small friction coefficient gives its fabric a smooth feel, which satisfies the consumers' pursuit of floating clothes.

Renewability and degradability of bamboo fiber. Bamboo is a kind of fast-growing and high-yield bamboo fiber raw material that grows widely and can be cut in groups in 2 to 3 years after planting with the strong renewable ability. Bamboo mostly grows in the natural environment of beautiful mountains and rivers, and is rarely polluted by harmful substances such as pesticides. Bamboo fiber has non-toxic, harmless, non-polluting characteristics, is a degradable fiber, and in the soil can be completely decomposed. It does not cause damage to the surrounding environment, and is a kind of environmental protection green fiber.

Bamboo fiber can be used effectively in many fields. Bamboo fiber has a long history as a raw material for the paper industry and has been widely used in the paper industry. At the same time, bamboo fiber is further processed and combined to form a variety of composite materials with a variety of properties that can be widely used in transportation, construction, plumbing, furniture and other industries.

4. Industry status and development prospects of bamboo fiber

At present, bamboo fiber industry is composed of bamboo production, bamboo fiber manufacturing, spinning, weaving, dyeing and finishing and finished product processing and other industrial chains. According to incomplete statistics, in 2021, China's production of bamboo fiber is about 2.4 million tons, and exports account for about 30% of the total production. It is still in the market development and rising stage with a high speed of development. Take Hebei Jigao Chemical Fiber Co., a subsidiary of Jilin Chemical Fiber Group for example, the enterprise formally produced bamboo fiber in 2003, and the output rose from 2,300 tons in 2003 to 100,000 tons in 2021. At present, domestic bamboo fiber production enterprises include: Hebei Jigao Chemical Fiber Co., Tangshan Sanyou Company, Shandong Longhai Company, etc.; spinning enterprises include: Hebei Tianlun Textile Co. LTD, Shandong Demian Co., LTD, Shandong Huayuan Group, Hebei Baoding Cotton Group, etc. And there are a lot of enterprises for weaving, dyeing and finishing and finished product processing.

Bamboo fiber industry has huge development space. In 2021, China's yarn production is 28.737 million tons, of which cotton yarn production is 17.0528 million tons, blended yarn production is 4.6188 million tons, pure chemical fiber yarn production is 7.0654 million tons; 2021 China's cotton yarn import quantity is 2.1139 million tons, and it is necessary to import 3.4 million tons, so there is a big production gap. The amount of chemical fiber for spinning is 11 million tons; and bamboo fiber can replace cotton and other fibers for spinning, with excellent performance and huge development space. With the continuous expansion of the market, the demand for bamboo fiber will increase rapidly, and it is expected that in the next five years, the global bamboo fiber market demand will reach at least 10 million tons.


Now, China has launched whole bamboo, bamboo cotton, bamboo linen, bamboo wool, bamboo silk, bamboo Tencel, bamboo Lycra, blended silk, woven, color woven and other series of bamboo fiber products, and there is the initial formation of some bamboo fiber product brands. Through the market promotion in the past 5 years, people have become more familiar with bamboo fiber, and its products are popular in domestic and foreign markets, and exported to EU, North America, Asia and other regions. It is known that a bamboo fiber golf T-shirt sells for 800 RMB, and an ordinary culture shirt sells for more than 200 RMB. Bamboo fiber products are 1 to 2 times more expensive than cotton and hemp products, but they are still recognized and accepted by the market because of their special performance. With the large-scale operation of bamboo fiber products, its production and operation costs will be significantly reduced on the existing basis, which has considerable market development prospects.

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