Cotton is the purified fibre of the seed capsules of the cotton plant. Cotton is by far the most frequently used fibre of the Textile Industry. Over 50% of all fibres used are cotton fibres.
Cotton can absorb about 20% of its own weight in moisture without feeling wet. It is pleasantly soft to wear, is permeable to air and actively breathes. It is highly resistant to friction and tearing. It tolerates high temperatures and can easily be washed at over 150 C. For this reason, cotton is the best material for sterile items in the medical field.
Cotton is a regular component of many items of the Disana program. It is used whenever high fluid absorbency is required - namely in diapers and liners. Once absorbed, the fluid is quickly distributed over the whole textile. A knitted diaper with a weight of 85g can therefore absorb and contain up to 100ml of fluid.
Thanks to its chemical composition as a carbohydrate fibre, cotton is resistant to heat, mechanical pressure and many chemicals. It can therefore easily be machine washed at 95°C. A hot iron will increase the volume of the cotton and leave it feeling softer and fluffier.
Composition and Production
The cotton fibre itself consists of cellulose (carbohydrates); an inner vacuum is surrounded by several layers of cellulose, similar to the layers inside an onion. Its chemical composition as a carbohydrate fibre makes cotton considerably less sensitive to heat and mechanical pressure.
Cotton, a mallow plant, grows as a shrub and reaches a height of about 25cm to 2 metres. After blossoming, the capsule opens up and seed hairs emerge from it. These seed hairs are the cotton fibres which, after spinning, are worked into a spinning yarn. One of the most important properties of cotton is the length of the fibres, the so called "stacklength". Although cotton is a natural fibre, its cultivation is often problematic and involves high usage of water and agricultural chemicals. Cotton is grown on approximately 1% of the earth's usable agricultural surface. This 1% of land however takes up approximately 20% of all agricultural chemicals used worldwide.
In 3000 B.C., cotton was already being grown in India. It was brought by the Indians to China. By this time, the Incas too were already using cotton. Between the eighth and tenth centuries A.D., the Arabs brought the culture of cotton from Persia to North Africa, Sicily and Southern Spain.