Linen - manufacturing process and properties

Linen is a vegetable fibre. It is got from the stem of flax plant. The flax plant grows in such countries as France, Belgium, Russia, Northern Ireland, etc. it is produced in tropical countries.

Manufacturing process of Linen:
Linen is processed from the stem of flax plant by the following steps
1. Retting: This is the process of softening the flax stems by letting them rot in ponds or special retting tanks. This separates the fibres from the stem.

2. Breaking and scutching: These are mechanical treatments that break and remove the woody matter and impurities from the fibres.

3. Combing: This is the process of passing the fibres through special series of Combs to separate long fibres from shorter ones.

4. Spinning: This is the process of drawing the fibres into silvers and twisting them for strength. Yarns are produced. The yarns are then woven into fabrics.

5. The yarns can be dyed before weaving if necessary.

Properties or characteristics of Linen:
1. It is stronger than cotton. It increases in strength when wet.
2. It is absorbent and cool to wear.
3. It dries slowly.
4. It is good conductor or heat. It therefore carries heat away from the body.
5. It creases badly, it washed well, it frays badly and easily.
6. It can stand high temperature; it has natural lustre.
7. It is not fluffy. Linen is therefore suitable as dish-cloth or glass-cloth. It will leave lint on glassware.
8. It wears well and is durable and strong.
9. Under the microscope, a linen fibre looks rounded with swellings or nodes at intervals. It resembles bamboo rods.
10. It burns readily, it gives off smell of burning paper.

Uses of linen:
Linen can be made into different articles such as kitchen Linen like - glass-cloth, tea-towels, table-covers. Tray covers, serviette, suits, dresses, etc.

Typical linen fabrics:
These include damask, huckaback, canvas, twill, lawn, cambric, etc.

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