A new silk fabric that uses cotton, wool and hemp to create a fabric with a silky, flexible texture could help the textile industry achieve its ambitious goals of creating new high-performance textile products.
The Silkworm Project, which is part of the UK’s Silk Industry Innovation Centre, has developed the Silkworm fabric, which uses a special fabric blend of cotton, silk and hemp that allows the fabric to be produced in large quantities at low cost, while remaining environmentally friendly.
The fabric is created in a laboratory and is manufactured in China and then imported to the UK.
“We’ve created a very high-end fabric that has a very silky texture,” said Prof Robert Jager, a textile expert at the University of Sussex, who has been involved in the Silkworms project since 2009.
“It’s very soft, it’s very flexible and it’s extremely durable.”
Prof Jager said it was a technology that could be applied to a range of different fabrics.
“The technology is very different to fabric manufacturing,” he said.
“But it’s a very practical approach, which can be adapted to a wide range of uses.”
The Silkworms fabric uses silk as a fibre for its surface.
Image: BBC/BBC News.
Professor Jager explained how the Silk Worm fabric works: Silk is a great material for making very thin, soft fabrics.
Silk is also good for making a lot of very high quality products, including fabrics and plastics.
It’s also a great way to make a fabric that is flexible, and not stiff.
The silk is spun into a fabric fibre, which then becomes woven into a layer of cotton that is woven into the fabric fabric.
“That fabric fabric is then rolled into a shape that is then folded into a long strip of hemp,” he explained.
“And that fabric fabric becomes a kind of silk-mesh fabric, or a silk-silk blend fabric.”
The silk blend fabric is spun to a density of about one kilogram per square metre, which means it is incredibly flexible.
“Its very good at doing that, because its very light, its very flexible,” said Professor Jager.
“I think it’s the most advanced fabric fabric that I’ve seen that has been made from this new fibre.”
Because of that flexibility, it is extremely strong, because it has a really good conductivity.
“There are no structural limitations in it.
The only limitation is that it is very light and very flexible.”
The fabric also has a good water resistance, which was a major factor in the decision to develop it, said Prof Jager: The Silk Worm has been developed to use a fibre that is known to be water-resistant.
The fabric has been tested in water, on a range in the sea, on the river, in a riverbed and in an industrial plant, he added.
The first phase of the Silk worms production began in November 2016, with the final production of the fabric set to start in 2020.
The project has also developed a range to produce more silk-based products, from fabrics to footwear.
In a bid to help develop more environmentally friendly fabrics, the Silk Road Foundation, which has supported the Silkworkers programme, has helped fund research and development.
“The project is a unique one because it can be applied in a wide variety of uses,” said Richard Dannemann, managing director of the foundation.
“This fabric has really taken advantage of that.
It is not just for the textile industries.
It can be used for everything from fabrics for clothing, to fabrics for shoes, to even for clothes for the internet.”
The programme also supports research into the future of silk.
“If we can develop a better and more sustainable silk-like fabric that we can use in the future, we will be able to use the Silk as a material for the next generation of textile technologies,” said Dannimann.