The main producers of ramie fibres today are China, Brazil, Philippines, India, South Korea, and Thailand. Only a small percentage of the ramie produced is available on the international market.
Japan, Germany, France and the UK are the main importers, the remaining supply is used domestically (in the country in which it is produced).
Ramie fibre is very durable, is pure white in color and has a silky luster. It is reported to have a tensile strength eight times that of cotton and seven times greater than silk.
These discrepancies can be partly attributed to the effects of source of supply, method of processing, the test conditions temperature and humidity, on the fibre strength.
The stems of ramie grow to a height of 1- 2.5 meters. The most suitable climate for ramie is one which is warm and humid, with an annual rainfall of at least 1000 mm.
Well established plants can tolerate drought and frost but grow better without. As ramie productivity is high it can rapidly deplete the soil of nutrients.
General Properties & Advantages of Ramie Fibre
- Ramie fibre is long and fine.
- It has an absorbency rate similar to flax.
- It can be bleached to extreme whiteness.
- It is one of the strongest natural fibres and its strength increases when wet.
- It possesses a permanent luster similar to silk.
- It is stiff and more brittle than linen.
- It has low resiliency and low elasticity.
- It has a low elongation potential and will break if folded repeatedly in the same spot.
- It has a good absorbency rate but does not dye as well as cotton.
- Ramie is resistant to insects and microorganisms, rotting, mildew, and shrinkage.
Disadvantages of Ramie
- Low in elasticity.
- Lacks resiliency.
- Low abrasion resistance.
- Wrinkles easily.
- Stiff and brittle.
Applications of Ramie Fibre
- Apparel: dresses, suits, skirts, jackets, pants, blouses, shirts, children wear, mixed with cotton in knitted sweaters.
- Home Fashion: curtains, draperies, upholstery, bedspreads, table linens, sheets, dish towels.
- Sewing threads.
- Parachute fabrics.
- Woven fire hoses.
- Narrow weaving.
- Filter cloth.
Ramie as a Blend
When mixed with wool, ramie adds lightness and minimizes shrinkage. When blended with rayon, it offsets the low wet strength
Care of Ramie Fibre
The dry cleaning method helps preserve the beauty of woven ramie items and gives the best color and shape retention and a wrinkle-free appearance.
With caution, white ramie fabrics may be bleached with chlorine-type bleaches Ramie fabrics withstand ironing temperatures up to 400 to 450 degrees F, or the cotton setting on an iron.
Ramie fibres are brittle and tend to break. Avoid folding the garment or pressing sharp creases in woven fabrics.