BAMBOO CHARCOAL FIBER
Referred to as “the Black Diamond” in Japan and Southeast Asia, bamboo charcoal fiber use is an emerging trend in the fashion industry as manufacturers look to combine fashion with function.
The bamboo charcoal is created by heating bamboo at temperatures of 800 degrees and then the charcoal itself is processed and mixed in with fabrics as part of the growing field of nanotechnology.
Nanotechnology is defined as the “understanding, manipulation, and control of matter at the length mentioned above, thus, the physical, chemical, and biological properties of materials (individual atoms, molecules, and bulk matter) can be engineered, synthesized, or altered to develop the next generation of improved materials, devices, structures, and systems.” Hence, textile attributes such as softness, durability, water resistance and breathability can be enhanced with the use of Nanotechnology.
The many positive qualities of bamboo charcoal fabric include:
Easier on sensitive skin – The fabric inhibits bacterial metabolism causing fewer allergic skin reactions than other fibers sterilized with antimicrobial agents.
Reduces Static buildup – This is a conductive material so it keeps a balanced charge in fabric to help reduce static buildup.
Superior Absorption & Deodorizing Ability – This trait is due to the highly porous structure of the bamboo fabric. According to some research, bamboo charcoal can absorb formaldehyde at a rate of 16% ~ 19.39%; as for benzene, the rate is 8.69% ~ 10.08%; as for toluene, the rate is 5.65% ~ 8.42%; ammonia with the rate of 22.73% ~ 30.65%; chloroform with the high rate of 40.68%, and the lasting time can be up to 24d. And in the drop-off of bamboo charcoal fiber, the content of carbon is nearly 93% ~ 96%, and this property enables it to absorb sulfur-based compounds, nitrogen-based compounds and so on.
Anti-pilling – Because it has good performance in anti-fluff, bamboo Charcoal fiber can reach level 3.5 ~ level 4.5 as for the anti- fluff, anti-pilling effect.
Far Infrared Radiation properties – Bamboo charcoal fiber can absorb and rer adiation8- l4 μm far-infrared. Because bamboo charcoal fiber contains metal elements such as potassium, magnesium, calcium carbonized material (K 0.85, Na 0.01, Ca 0.05, Mg 0.04, Fe 0.01, Mn 0.05), fibers and fabrics have the property of far-infrared radiation. Once absorbed, the fabric disperses the far infrared radiation to activate human cells, increase cellular energy, accelerate the speed of blood circulation, and promote and improve body metabolism.
Superior Washing and Durability - Bamboo charcoal fibers quick-drying and because the bamboo charcoal nano particles are embedded in the fabric rather than simply coated onto the surface, the fabric can be washed numerous times with no adverse effect on the charcoal qualities.
Moisture Regulation – Bamboo charcoal yarn has a cross-section filled with various micro-gaps and micro-holes so compared to conventional fabrics, it is better at moisture absorption and ventilation. The fabric keeps the wearer dry and comfortable on hot days.
Thermal Regulation – The highly porous nature of bamboo charcoal also lets it act as an insulator against the cold while also retaining heat. According to ITRI test results, when a 500W halogen light shone on the bamboo charcoal yarn for 10 minutes, the yarn emits far more infrared rays 87% ~ 92%, and warm up temperature of 10 degrees Celsius, which is much higher than for instance wool’s 5 degrees Celsius.
Promotes Better Health – The Bamboo Charcoal fiber contains potassium, calcium and other minerals, and the launch of negative ions is at a high level which is equivalent to the anion concentration of the outskirts, and this is beneficial for people’s health.
Antimicrobial Functions – Bamboo Charcoal fiber effectively decomposes the micro-organisms attached to its surface and in the air around it. The American Association for Testing and Materials ASTME2149-2001 fixation antibacterial activity of antibacterial agents dynamic testing method is adopted to study Staphylococcus aureus ATCC6538 (gram-positive bacteria). And by testing the one-sided knitted fabric bamboo charcoal filament bacteriostatic antibacterial function, the results show that the inhibiting rate is 65%, antimicrobial rate is 84%.
While the bamboo fabric technology is still relatively new, only gaining momentum in Asia in the mid-1990s, its uses are growing widespread ranging from clothing to carpeting to bedding. As they look towards more environmentally friendly fabrics that offer the same feel and durability of synthetic fabrics, bamboo charcoal is a surprising but strong contender.
Bamboo Charcoal fabric.
Nanotechnology bamboo charcoal fabric.
A Boston based company, Greenyarn LLC manufactures nanotechnology bamboo charcoal fabric. This fabric named Eco-fabric is fabric that is made from yarn embedded with nano-particles of bamboo charcoal. The yarn used are recycled polyester, nylon and rayon (Tencel).
Eco-fabric containing bamboo charcoal is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-static, de-odorizing, breathable, thermal regulating (cool in hot weather and warm in cool weather). However, Eco-fabric cannot be bleached and dyed, and is naturally gray in color.
The manufacturing process is as follows:
1, 4 to 5 year old Taiwanese-grown bamboo that has been dried and burned in 800 degree C ovens until it is reduced to charcoal.
2, The charcoal is then ground and filtered into nano-sized particles.
3, The nanoparticles of bamboo charcoal are doped into the fibers manufactured (without any bleach) in a closed loop process. (95% of chemicals used are recycled for Eco-fabric rayon) For nylon and recycled polyester, the nanoparticles are doped evenly when the yarn is extruded.
4, The fibers are then spun into yarn.
Harsh chemicals, dyes or bleach is ever used in the process as the chemicals will reduce the benefits of Eco-fabric. For colors and designs, colored yarns are added for the fabric to be woven into patterns. Eco-fabric is considered environmentally friendly because of its manufacturing process and the benefits from Eco-fabric comes directly from the bamboo charcoal unlike other de-odorizing and antibacterial fabrics which relay on chemicals.
For both bamboo fabric and nano bamboo charcoal fabric, they share similar properties:
1, Bamboo fabric has a natural sheen and softness that feels and drapes like silk but is less expensive and more durable.
2, Bamboo clothing is easy to launder in a clothes washer and dryer.
3, Because of the smooth and round structure of its fibers, bamboo clothing is soft and non-irritating, even to sensitive skin. Some people with chemical sensitivities can not tolerate bamboo clothing. We are not sure if this intolerance is due to the intrinsic nature of bamboo but it more likely because of other chemicals added or used during the manufacturing and finishing processes of the clothing. There are no known problems with nano bamboo charcoal fabric.
4, Bamboo is naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal supposedly because of a bacteriostatis agent unique to bamboo plants called "bamboo kun" which also helps bamboo resist harboring odors. "Kun" is also sometimes spelled "kunh". The bamboo kun in bamboo fabric stops odor-producing bacteria from growing and spreading in the bamboo cloth allowing bamboo clothing to be more hygienic and to remain fresher smelling. Nano bamboo charcoal fabric is more anti-bacterial and anti-fungal as the fabric is not affected by any chemicals that may affect its properties.
5, Bamboo clothing is hypoallergenic.
6, Bamboo is highly absorbent and wicks water away from the body 3 to 4 times faster than cotton. In warm, humid and sweaty weather, bamboo clothing helps keep the wearer drier, cooler and more comfortable and doesn't stick to the skin.
7, The structure of bamboo fibers make bamboo fabrics more breathable and thermal regulating than cotton, hemp, wool or synthetic fabrics.
8, Bamboo clothing is naturally more wrinkle-resistant than cotton, and while it might still require ironing after washing, bamboo fabric can be ironed at a lower temperature than cotton. Shrinkage during washing and drying is minimal at warm temperatures.
9, Bamboo fibers and fabrics absorb dyes faster and more thoroughly than cotton, modal and viscose with better color clarity. Bamboo fabrics do not need to be mercerized to improve their luster and dye-ability like cotton requires. Nano bamboo charcoal fabric cannot be bleached or dyed.
The Goodness of Bamboo Charcoal
There are different types of charcoals, including:
i) the wood charcoal which is regularly used for fuel,
ii) the binchotan which is used in our wall covering, and most recently,
iii) the black diamond, which is a very popular Japanese bamboo charcoal
Bamboo Charcoal is able to absorb and disintegrate odor/VOC, emit infra-red rays and break off EMW, all of which are properties not found in other types of charcoal. It may also seem rather unbelievable that besides being used for decoration, the Bamboo Charcoal can also be consumed. Natural and organic Bamboo Charcoal can also be reused.
Bamboo is amongst the fastest growing plants on record – young shoots can grow all of 4 meters in height overnight while more mature bamboo trees can reach the height of a 6-storey building. Despite its height and quick growth rate, it only has a lifespan of 6~8 years, which is shorter compared to most other trees. Cutting of bamboos has the least effect on the environment and ecosystem compared to other wood trees.
On top of its affordable price and low environmental impact, it is the health-related aspects of the Bamboo Charcoal that makes it so precious, like the Zen Wall – 1) It has the ability to absorb and disintegrate odor, thereby purifying the air. 2) It has high absorption properties to kill bacteria, detoxify the air and act as a dehumidifier. 3) It contains over 300 types of micro-organic minerals required by the human body. The magical absorptive characteristics of Bamboo Charcoal owes to the very fine pores (vessels) of around 2~3micrometers, which are used by the living plant to transport nutrients from the ground. This provides a large surface area which is in direct contact with the surrounding air – an area of which is equivalent to a 25 meter long swimming pool per 1g of Bamboo Charcoal.
Bamboo Charcoal also positively affects human health directly. The far infra-red rays emitted can help increase blood circulation, thereby easing muscle pain, haemorrhoids, burns and wounds. Bamboo Charcoal, which has been charred under temperatures in excess of 750 degrees Celcius generates and releases negative ions, which neutralise the positive ions emitted from computers, mobile phones, lights and other electronics/electrical appliances around us. Studies have shown that it is these positive ions emitted that make us feel tired after long hours in front of the computer.
Although Bamboo Charcoal has so much goodness, it is important to use them correctly towards achieving a healthier lifestyle.
* Improve Water Quality
Placing Bamboo Charcoal pieces in drinking water helps to purify the water by adsorbing the impurities into its pores. During the first few weeks of usage, the Bamboo Charcoal also releases minerals which are good for our body. It is also able to make wine more fragrant whilst removing its tartness, and also make tea tastier by reducing the acidity. The difference can be tasted simply by adding a piece of clean Bamboo Charcoal to the drink.
* Purify the Air
Placing the bamboo charcoal in a cool, dry section of a room will help make the air cleaner, odourless and help balance the humidity of indoor air. Introduction of more negative ions will also make the air feel fresher. However, do bear in mind that the effects of the Bamboo Charcoal is less obvious in highly ventilated and spacious areas. The most effective areas are the bedroom, powder room, study room, and even in the fridge. If you wish to place it in the living room or kitchen, simply increase the amount of Bamboo Charcoal used.
* Improve Blood Circulation System
You may have heard of charcoal beds before. The beds made from natural Bamboo Charcoal can help improve sleep quality and reduce aches from inappropriate sleeping positions. Simply placing the Bamboo Charcoal under the bed linings and pillows also has the same positive effects. The odour and humidity of the bed is also reduced. In addition, when used on car seats and chair cushions, our blood circulation can be improved. Further use of the Bamboo Charcoal in the bath tubs for a bubble bath or spa also improves the blood circulation.
* Blocks EMW
Electrical/Electronic appliances produce EMW. Placing some bamboo charcoal around the computer, microwave, television and ventilator protects our well-being by reducing the amount of EMW emitted, which can harm our body.
Bamboo Charcoal pieces that have been used will gradually become less effective. In this case, disposal is NOT an option. Simply placing the used Bamboo Charcoal in the pots of the indoor plants or bonsai will help the plants to grow better.