Corn Fiber: A New Fiber on Horizon (Part-4)

Corn Fiber: A New Fiber on Horizon (Part-4)
Aditi Dhama
Satyam Fashion Institute, Noida, Delhi, India

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Corn fiber is a kind of yogurt polymer. It is tested that Corn knitted fabric will not stimulate skin, and it is beneficial and comfortable to wear. Corn fiber has excellent drape, slippery, moisture regain and air permeability, and it has full luster and elasticity.
  • This fiber have living creature and can decline a solution.
  • Corn fiber is light and soft to slip to follow.
  • The strength is big, absorbing wet well ventilated.
  • The product processed have the sheen and comfortable skin touch
  • Good heat-proof and anti- ultraviolet ray function.
  • Fiber doesn’t use petroleum to equalize work raw material completely.
  • The wastes can decline a solution under the aquatic microorganism function of the soil and the sea will not pollute environment.
  1. It has good strength and resiliency. 
  2. It has natural comfort and drape. 
  3. It is naturally insulating. 
  4. It have moisture wicking. 
  5. It is more breathable than polyester. 
  6. It provides odor control. 
  7. It is stain resistant and color fast. 
  8. It has low pilling. 
  9. It does not shrink dries quickly. 
  10. It is hypoallergenic. 
  11. It is natural UV resistance. 
  12. It is ideal for all climates. 
  13. It has Low flammability and less smoke generation.
  14. It has Low index of refraction, which provides excellent color characteristics, with the shiny luster as silk.
Corn fibre heads to de-compose as it is from different origin than the regular plastic. The process of de-compose is very important process because of which Corn out served its usefulness. Corn fibre biodegrades slowly in this way - Initially polymer chain of 100,000 to 300,000 molecular weight, break down into its constituent parts (Carbon dioxide and water) within three months in a "controlled composting environment". While compounding polymer if heat of 75C applied at steady rate helps the microbes to decompose in controlled environment. But it will take far longer in a compost bin and in a tightly packed landfill where no light and presence of oxygen are rare available to assist in the process. Indeed, analysts estimate that a bottle grade Corn fibre may take approximate time from 100 to 1,000 years to decompose in soil. Conventional PET polymer contains molecular weight of 170,000 to 350,000 hence it is highly tough to decompose.

Future costs to the environment and human health of genetic modification are still largely unknown and could be very high. So, Corn fibre staple fiber, which is 100% green and bio-degradable, having nothing to do with traditional polyester, but with the appearance, applications and functions nearly the same as normal PSF (Polyester Staple Fiber), denier from 1.5D to 6D under our current production, up to 15D can be made the same way. The current price (FOB base) of Corn fibre is as below, provided by one of the major Taiwanese producer. 1.4Dx38mm for spinning -US$ 3.72/Kg, 1.5Dx38mm for spun-lace - US$ 3.30/Kg, 6D/15Dx 64mm for padding- US$ 3.33/Kg, 4Dx51mm LM for thermo bonding- US$ 3.5 8/Kg, which is very high compare to traditional polyester which is being sold at near by US$ 1.00/Kg.The largest producer of Corn fibre in the world is Nature Works, a subsidiary of Cargill. Corn fibre production technique was jointly developed by Cargill Dow. The Corn fibre samples produced with this technology is being sold at €3.40/Kg to €2.20/Kg. Cargill Dow is also investigating on other ways to generate PLA including the use of renewable fuels from plants such as wheat, beets and other crops best suited to particular climates. After 2010, the use of renewable energy and alternative biomass feedstocks is expected to generate further improvements in price competitiveness. Hycail's predictions are more conservative (€2.00 per kg in 2007, €1.80 per kg in 2010, €1.50 - €1.60 per kg in 2030).

Corn is largest U.S. crop, in terms of both volume and value. The states of Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and Minnesota account for more than 50 percent of U.S. corn production. Other major corn-producing states include Indiana, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Michigan, Missouri, Kansas, Ohio and Kentucky.

The United States grew 39 percent of the world's corn in during fiscal year 2009, producing 307.4 million metric tons (12.1 billion bushels). Other major corn producing countries in 2008/2009 included:
  • China -165.9 million metric tons
  • Brazil - 51 million metric tons
  • European Union - 62.7 million metric tons
  • Mexico - 25 million metric tons
  • Argentina - 12.6 million metric tons
  • India - 18.5 million metric tons
Corn fiber has a natural feel that provides true innovation from yarns to garments. This fibre can replace many various textile materials, it is most fit for clothing, can be made into yarn, fabric, knitting, nonwoven, staple fiber, multifilament and single filament. It can be spun into pure yarn, at the same time, it can be spun with cotton, wool, viscose and other chemical fibers. The natural source and inherent performance attributes of corn fiber make it ideal for use in a wide range of fiber applications.

Characteristics like strength, resilience, comfort and drape combined with loft, natural insulating warmth and moisture management make corn fiber the perfect solution for both outer and inner fabric performance needs. Moreover, because of its easy-care properties, corn fiber-based fabrics are an easy choice for clothing manufacturers. Corn fiber is used in many different apparel applications such as contemporary sports and casual wear t-shirts, fleece and jeans. Functional fashion separates like shirtings, trousers, duvet jackets, jersey dressing and essential next- to-skin items such as underwear and hosiery. Corn fiber can also be used in new fiberfill blends for thermal wadding that offers unique natural insulation properties. The use of corn fiber in clothing fabrics translates into garments that are both easy care and easy wear.
Clothes made from corn
Clothes made from corn
Home Textiles
The natural versatility of corn fiber allows it to be created as furnishing and home textile also. Corn fiber is used in different home textile product categories and it is suitable for bedding fiberfill (such as pillows, duvets and quilts), ticking fabrics, mattresses, blankets, carpets, draperies, upholstery fiberfill and in office wall paneling.

Corn fiber is already in use in two non woven applications: wipes and feminine hygiene products. With its unique end-of-life options, it is well suited for use in cosmetics and diapers.

Industrial Applications
Corn fibres can be used for geotextiles, agrotextiles and specialist filtration media. Corn in form of biopolymer can also be used, in its plastic form, for packaging.

For construction/civil engg. Material: Curing sheet, slope vegetation nets, etc.

For food packaging: Trays, fast- food containers, etc. For daily sundry products: Garbage pail bags, strainer bags, etc.

Medical field
Such as seam after operations, non-woven fabric, bandage, gauze, absorbent cotton. Its composite material is used as fixup in bone joint.

Reduced Environment Impact
Corn fiber leads the way toward producing a wide range of materials from renewable resources, to meet the world's needs today without compromising the earth's ability to meet the needs of tomorrow. Corn is a clean product; i.e., on reaching the end of its lifetime, it is completely biodegradable, compostable, burnable (without producing dangerous fumes) and recyclable.

Corn fiber is an environmentally preferable option to petroleum-based synthetic materials as it uses natural resource, field corn, instead of petroleum, to make synthetic materials.

Corn fiber has already threaded its way into some winning outfits produced by designers from across the globe. It is currently used in contemporary sportswear, fashion separates, essential and other knitwear by a number of designers who firmly believe that through the use of corn fiber in their designs they can raise awareness for the environmental, social and political issues close to their hearts with the aim of making the consumer aware and inspiring them to act by taking responsibility for the world we live in and the one that we leave to future generations.

Wash in cold water using a mild detergent .Little drying time is required since garments almost spin dry in the washing machine. Corn fabric is wrinkle free ,so it does not need ironing. That makes it perfect easy care fabric for travelers or those with an active lifestyle .

Corn fibre will break down just like other natural fabrics such as cotton, silk and wool. PLA fiber requires high temperatures (roughly 180 degrees) and high moisture (roughly 95 percent humidity) such as that found in municipal compost systems to decompose.

Corn fabrics have the same durability as any other materials.

The amount of time for Corn fibre plastic to decompose depends on a number of variables such as temperature, pressure and moisture. The environment of the compost plays a major role in the speed of the decomposition process along with the durability and thickness of the plastic. Thicker corn-based plastics such as mugs will take longer to decompose than a corn-based plastic bag.

Corn fibre clothing has the same durability as conventional fabrics. They will not break down or decompose during washings or dryings. Corn fibre clothing, because of its unique structure, is virtually wrinkle-resistant, so there is no need for ironing. The clothing can be either washed or dry cleaned.

Although Corn fibre is derived from corn, the actual fiber is synthetic with the easy care and hypoallergenic properties of man-made fibers, so those with food or down allergies can rest easy. Once produced, this fiber has a natural feel that enhances the end products when used in apparel, fiberfill and carpet.

Corn fiber is a manmade fiber derived entirely from annually renewable resources. These fibers have the performance advantages often associated with synthetic materials, and complementing properties of natural products such as cotton and wool. Also, with global warming concerns, corn fabrics can help you say bye-bye to heat and sweat. Corn clothes can fight off humidity by diffusing perspiration into the air, providing your body with wearable air conditioning (minus the hassle of electricity bills). With their remarkable permeability and moisture absorbency, corn fabric can keep you dry in even the dampest conditions. And, like other eco-friendly fabrics, corn fibers provide the equivalent of SPF60 sun protection due to their high UV ray resistance. More and more environmentalists and clothing manufacturers are claiming that corn is well situated to take root in the fashion industry. Since corn leads all the other crops in both value and volume, many also believe that it will become the number one textile product in the 21st century.

  • Mahapatra,Processing of Corn fibre in Textile industries, colourage, vol. 4, no. 6,September 2008 .
  • Parthiban, M.and Msnjula,S.biotechnology and new millennium fibres, The Indian Textile Journal, vol 17, no.7, April 2007.
  • Tech Tex India, vol 4, Issue 4, December 2010.
  • The Textile Mazagine, vol. 51, Issue 3 ,January 2010.
  • World Textile Abstracts, vol 41, Issue 4,April 2007. 
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Mazharul Islam Kiron is a textile consultant and researcher on online business promotion. He is working with one European textile machinery company as a country agent. He is also a contributor of Wikipedia.

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