How to Obtain Wool Fibres?
How to Obtain Wool Fibres: We have all worn sweaters in the winter season. Sweaters are made from wool. Wool is nothing but a form of natural fibre that is obtained from animals like sheep, camels, yak, goats, etc. A layer of outer covering over these animals is nothing but thick hair. This hair is removed from the skin of the animals just as we have our hair cut or shaved by a barber. This animal hair is used to obtain wool fibres.
Animal fibre is a type of fibre that is obtained from animals naturally. In this article, we will explain the process of obtaining wool fibres from animals. This process is called the extraction of wool. Please keep reading to know more about the steps involved in the wool fibre extraction process.
Usually, in regions with a cold climate, many animals tend to have a thick coat of hair over their body to protect them from cold temperatures. This thick coating of air acts as an insulator by trapping the air in between. As air is a poor conductor of heat, the animal manages to keep itself warm. The trapped air helps keep the animal warm by not allowing heat to escape from the animal’s body.
Fibres are thin, continuous locks or filaments of entities. There are two types of fibres, natural fibres and synthetic fibres. Natural fibres are obtained naturally from the environment, plants, and animals. For example, wool, cotton, jute, etc. Synthetic fibres are man-made materials and are industrially manufactured. Petrochemicals are usually involved as the raw materials used to synthesise these fibres.
Examples of synthetic fibres are polyester, nylon, etc. The sheep is the most common and well-known animal when it comes to the extraction of wool. Two types of fibres are found in the sheep’s hair:
- Beard hair that is rough.
- The under hair that is soft and found just close to the sheep’s skin.
The wool is generally preferred to be made out of the soft under hair of the sheep because the hair is of very fine quality. The selective breeding process is used to pick out the sheep that have the most ideal soft hair to make the wool from.
Let us have a look at the different steps involved in the wool fibre extraction process in detail.
Step 1 – Shearing
Shearing is the first step in the wool extraction process. It is nothing but the removal of hair from the surface of the body of the sheep. It is the removal of the fleece of the sheep along with a very thin outer layer of the skin. This process is usually performed when the weather is warm. This is done to ensure that the sheep do not feel cold once their fleece is removed. This process of hair removal does not hurt the animal because the outer layer of the skin consists of dead cells.
Step 2 – Scouring
In this process, all the dirt, dust, grime, and grease that have built up all over the body of the sheep’s fleece are removed. This process is carried out using particular machines. These machines are automatic and the sheep’s hair is washed thoroughly in large tanks. Sometimes, this process is also done by hand.
Step 3 – Sorting
In this next process, the different kinds of hair in the sheep’s skin are sorted according to their textures and quality. All clothes are made from good-quality sheep hair. The lower-quality sheep hair is used to make rugs and mats. This sorting is usually done in factories where the workers are trained in the process to separate the hair according to its type and texture.
Step 4 – Burr Removal
The burrs and also the small fibres here and there that are present on the surface of the sheep’s fleece are removed in this process. This is done to ensure that the final material is burr-free and the entire texture is consistent. The hair is then cleaned and dried. The material obtained after this step is then used to make the fibre.
Step 5 – Colouring/Dyeing
In this process, the converted fibres are coloured or dyed because the natural colour of the fibre is either white, brown, or even black. This is where the fibres get their colours from. They are artificially imparted. This gives vibrant colouring to all the winter clothing.
Step 6 – Rolling and Combing
This is the last step of the process. Here, the fibres obtained for the wool are straightened, rolled out, and also combed thoroughly into yarns or balls of yarn. The wool made from these fibres is then utilised to make sweaters, jumpers, and all types of winter clothing. The longer fibres of the wool are used to make sweaters, whereas the shorter fibres are used to make woollen cloth.
We hope that this article on how to obtain wool fibres has proven to be helpful to you and provided valuable insight into this topic. Always remember that understanding the basic concepts and principles behind any topic or process is key to mastering any chapter or subject.
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