How is jute made?
Jute is a plant that is grown by the jute cultivators, however, can also be planted in rotation with some other crop. The jute plant has a height of about 5-10 feet and has a cylindrical stalk.
The steps involved in the manufacturing of jute fabric are as follows:
Firstly, the soil that is suitable for the growth of the jute plant is plain alluvial soil. The growth of jute plants requires standing water and warm climate followed by rain and humidity.
For the plantation of jute seeds, the soil must be levelled and quite finely textured because jute is a strongly growing plant and requires nourishment from the soil. In about 2-3 days the seed germinates into a large number of plants.
The correct time to harvest the jute crop is just after the flowers appear on the plant and before the fruits come off as by this stage the plant has attained the maximum height followed by retting of bark and fiber extraction.
However, if the harvesting is done early then the fibers obtained are short and pale in colour and if the crop is harvested when the fruits have appeared the fiber obtained is of low quality.
Harvesting of mature jute stalks is done using hand with the help of a sickle. Since the field is flooded with water by 2-3 feet, the plants are pulled up along with the roots from the ground and then the roots are chopped off. After which the stems are arranged in the bundles and a then defoliated i.e. leaves shed off.
Retting or rotting is a process of removal of jute fiber bundles from the outer woody stalk. fiber bundles are present beneath the bark and held together by a gummy substance, in order to separate the fibers, the stalk is immersed in the water. The bundles of stalks are submerged in the in-stream, pool or pond, ditches and weighed down to keep them immersed all the time during the process of retting.
Retting can be carried out by various methods such as dew or field retting, stream retting, pool or pond retting, vat retting and chemical retting. The time duration required for the retting process is 5-15 days and the temperature of the water should be around 80. The method of retting also has a certain influence on the quality of the fibers obtained. For instance, the fibers that are extracted after the pool or pond retting often have certain discolouration in the fiber because of the use of the same stagnant water results in the accumulation of iron salts in the water. The best method for retting is slow-running stream water.
When the retting process is complete the bundles of fibers become soft and loosen because of the action of bacteria that grows on them. After which the stalks are thoroughly rinsed so as to remove dirt, gum, extraneous plant materials and retting residues that may be present and dried in fields.
• Sculching and Combing:
The bundles of the stalk are then beaten against the wooden mallets lightly to extract the fibers from the stalk. The scutched fibers are then pulled through a series of iron combs to increase the fineness.
• The combed fibers are then spun into yarns. The jute yarns are then treated with some finish applications such as water-resistant and flame retardant to impart additional properties. These yarns are then woven into textile material depending on their end-use.