Yarns! Yarns! And Yarns!

Have you ever thought, why some of our clothing, say for example, scarves are sheer, soft and ornamental while others like shawls are thick, coarse and rough (though not all of them). This is because of the different yarns used for making them. Yarn formation is a fine skill and with variations in the spinning process, one can make various types of yarns. So what are the different types of yarns?
Single Yarns: To make these spun yarns, single strands of fibers are held together by twist. They are either given S-twist or Z-twist. Single yarns are used for making most of the fabrics.
Ply Yarns: Two or more strands or yarns are twisted together to make ply yarns. In two-ply yarns, two single strands are twisted together, and three-ply yarn is made up of three single strands and so on. The strands are generally twisted in one direction and then combined and twisted in opposite direction.
Cabled Yarns: Two or more plied yarns are twisted together, usually, around each other continually in the opposite direction of the previous twist. Thus, it may be twisted in an S/Z/S form or a Z/S/Z form These yarns are hard, rough and strong.
Doubled Yarns: In the weaving process, two or more strands are treated as one but they are not twisted together as when making ply yarns. Doubled yarns are used for giving ornamental effects due to their lustre and softness.
Novelty Yarns: For making novelty yarns, decorative effects are produced by giving different amounts of twists while spinning. Sometimes, yarns having different diameters are twisted together to make them. They are used for making ornamental fabrics having various textures and color combinations. There are many types of novelty yarn, each having difference in its making process. These novelty yarns include slub yarns, boucle yarns, spiral yarns, chenille yarns among others.

Ceramic Yarn- Clay's Journey From Pottery To Textile

You might have heard about ceramic art, ceramic pottery or bricks but have you heard about ceramic yarn? Yes, in fact, there is a yarn made of ceramic or clay which is used for making various textile products! These wonder ceramic fabrics are also used to protect NASA's space shuttles and satellites! They are incredibly strong, fireproof and excellent heat resistant fabrics.

Ceramic Yarn

Ceramic yarn is one of the man-made mineral fibers, popularly known as mineral wool. They are made from natural or synthetic minerals or metal oxides. Ceramic yarn is noted for its high temperature resistance above 1000°C. Textile made from ceramic fiber yarns have outstanding characteristics of lightweight, low thermal conductivity and chemical stability that can resist attack from most corrosive agents. The ceramic fiber yarns are used in high temperature sealing and in producing ceramic fiber tape, rope or fabrics. The ceramic fabrics are widely used in thermal insulation industry.

The Making of Ceramic Yarn
To make ceramic fibers, chemicals like silica are heated until they are molten, and then they are spun into hair-like strands. To make ceramic yarns, ceramic fibers are carded with a blend of organic fibers to make rovings. Rovings are soft strands of fiber that have been twisted, attenuated, and freed from foreign matters such as dust etc. before converting into yarn. Then a reinforcement of glass filament or steel wire is introduced to it. This combination is then spun to produce the ceramic yarns. In applications where tensile strength is significant, textiles manufactured from a glass filament reinforced yarn may be used up to 550ºC. Textiles manufactured from steel reinforced yarn may be used up to 1050°C. Where tensile strength is not so important, yarns and textiles may be used up to 1260ºC.

Industrial Applications of Ceramic Yarn Fabrics

Ceramic yarns and textiles are mainly applied to a wide range of high temperature sealing and insulating applications. It means that they are used in materials that come in contact of high temperatures so as to prevent or reduce the passage, transfer, or leakage of heat and electricity. A good example of this type of product is ceramic blankets. Ceramic fiber ropes are also used as heat insulation materials and a substitute for asbestos rope. NASA engineers had used ceramics for Shuttle tiles that could stand up to the heat of reentry. The fibers were used to fill gaps between orbiter tiles and were woven into insulation blankets, heat shields and other protective items.

General Uses of Ceramic Yarn Fabrics
Apart from being used in industries as insulating material, ceramic yarn is now also used for warm weather fashion clothing due to its cool nature. However, such fabrics have ceramic in very low percentage. For example, one of such ceramic fabrics is made up of 95% rayon & 5% ceramic. They keep the wearers cool and protect their skin from harmful UVA & UVB rays. They are, in fact, capable of dropping the surface skin temperature by at least 5 degrees. Due to their soft sheen, anti-static and washable qualities, they are gradually becoming a choice of fabric for babies & infant wear. Ceramic yarns are also fast becoming popular for knitting projects due to their same properties of being cool, soft and silky apart from UVA & UVB rays protective.

Drying Processes of Textile Industry

Textile drying is one of the finishing processes, which removes the water and moisture from the fabrics (accumulated while its manufacturing) through evaporative heating. As evaporative heating is very costly, initially mechanical methods are applied to remove as much as moisture from the fabric as possible. After that, heated dryers are used to evaporate the remaining water from the fabric. Mechanical methods include centrifugal extraction of water and continuous methods applying vacuum suction rolls. After mechanical extraction, various types of dryers are used to dry the textile which are categorized as thermal processes. The thermal processes transfer heat by convection; infrared radiation; direct contact; or radio-frequency.

Drying can be applied to loose fibers, yarns, or fabrics. When drying fibers, centrifugal extraction is done to reduce the water in loose fibers before evaporative drying is applied. The evaporation dryers consist of many chambers and fibers pass from the hottest to the cooler chambers. Fiber is carried through a conveyor belt or on the surface of a series of “suction drums”. Yarn packages are dried by two methods - rapid (forced) air drying and the radio frequency drying. In forced air dryers, hot air circulation is followed by conditioning. Radio frequency dryers operate on the conveyor principle. Fabrics are dried with various types of dryers like stenters, cylinder dryers, drying conveyors etc. The relaxed fabric is conveyed through a chamber while festooned in loops. The fabric travels through the chamber, passing over a series of hot cylinders. It is very important to dry textile without over drying otherwise the fabric may get a harsh hand.

Corduroy Fabric- Can it be Worn in Summers?

Sometimes it happens that we unknowingly put a fabric in certain category. For example, we say cotton, linen etc. are summer fabrics whereas wool, cashmere etc. are winter fabrics. Have you ever thought of the fabrics that are categorized as winter fabrics but are made from summer fabrics? Corduroy Fabric is one such fabric which is popularly called a winter fabric but is originally made from cotton- it is a cotton fabric with texture.

So, do you wear your corduroy skirt and pants in summers or pack all of them to be used in winters alone? Can you, in fact, wear corduroy in summers? To know this, first of all you'll have to know about the basic corduroy fabric.

What is Corduroy Fabric?

Fabric characteristically having parallel, lengthwise cords or ridges is the corduroy fabric. It looks much like twill fabric but there is a basic difference in appearance. Twill has diagonal rows while corduroy has parallel ridges. While weaving, its fibers are normally twisted resulting in long, parallel ridges. Initially, corduroy was made from cotton only. Now many other fibers, such as polyester, rayon and acrylic are also used to make corduroy fabric but essentially it remains a cotton texture fabric. Also, the modern versions of corduroy are composed of tufted cords, sometimes exhibiting a channel (bare to the base fabric) between the tufts. In essence, corduroy is a ridged form of velvet.

How is Corduroy Fabric Used?

Corduroy fabric is mostly used for making casual to business casual clothing usually for colder climates. They are widely used for trousers but not very uncommon to be seen as skirts, jackets, caps, bags and even upholstery for chairs and sofas. In fact, the application of corduroy fabric is decided by the width of cords appearing on it. The width of the cord is usually referred to as “wale”. The Corduroy fabrics having narrow wales are generally softer to touch, and are often used for shirts, skirts, jackets or caps. Corduroy with wide wales is commonly found on pants or furniture.

Can We Wear Corduroy in Summers?

Although considered to be a fall/winter fabric, corduroy can even be worn in summers, of course, if you do not go by strict fashion norms. However, the fabric for summer has to be chosen very cautiously. It should be narrow wale (thin width cord), lighter weight corduroy (if superlight, it's best) in a light color, something like white, beige, pink etc. For choosing such corduroy you must know how to count the wales? Corduroy fabric’s wale count per inch varies from 1.5 to 21. However, the traditional standard falls between 10 and 12. 11-wale corduroy, that is to say 11 wales per inch, is the corduroy with narrower wales. There are pincord, pinwale, and needlecord types of corduroy from among which pincord is the finest cord with a count above 16 and has a feel that is as soft as velvet and it is superlight. So, if you find this corduroy, wear it in summers without any other consideration!

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