19 Curious Cotton Facts That'll Help You Understand This Amazing Material | Kidadl

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19 Curious Cotton Facts That'll Help You Understand This Amazing Material

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Cotton is a plant that grows abundantly in warm climates and is one of the most popular fabrics. 

The cotton plant thrives on heat and rich soil with steady rain. The cotton plant is famous for its ability to grow rapidly and provides a substance called lint which has many uses from artwork to textile spinning.

Today, there is over 56,000 lb (25,401.2 kg) of organic cotton produced each year. Cotton is the most globally used fiber and the demand for it is only increasing with more countries wanting to maximize the production of these seeds. In addition, the soft, absorbent cotton fabric can blend with other similar fabrics.

We hope you enjoyed these facts about cotton, one of the most popular and widely-used fabrics in the entire world. To read more about interesting facts on other topics, you can click on copper facts and computer facts.

Cotton Plant Classification

Gossypium cotton plants are members of the Mallow family of flowering plants. Gossypium is the only genus in the family. More than 80% of these crops are grown using conventional genetic improvement methods to provide high yield and mildew resistance. In addition, the plant is cultivated using a genetic modification for insect resistance and herbicide tolerance. 

  • Gossypium barbadense is a member of the Gossypiaceae family. It grew in tropical climates and originated in Peru. Also, it is known as Sea Island cotton.
  • Gossypium hirsutum, also known as upland cotton fibers, is a tropical species of cotton native to Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean.
  • Also known as Darwin's cotton, the Gossypium hirsutum cotton fibers are found mostly in the Galapagos Islands.
  • Gossypium Raimondi is a progenitor species of tetraploid cotton and originates from Southern Peru.

How is cotton extracted? 

In cotton production, this fabric is extracted from the cotton seeds of various species of wild cotton plants. Each plant produces a very small amount of fiber, and it takes a large variety of them to produce a single pound. Here are some facts about cotton extraction. 

  • Cotton needs 200 days to grow from cotton seeds, and the process starts somewhere around December and March.
  • One of the most important facts about cotton is that cotton contributes over 15 billion dollars to the economy each year.
  • The cotton fiber seed begins when the fluffy white balls are harvested in late autumn, and they're chopped up in a cotton gin machine. This loosens the fibers to be separated with rollers from the plant's woody core or lignin.
  • The fibers are then separated from the leaves and dirt through screens.
  • First, they are ground up; then, they're put in a press that separates the fibers from the seeds.
  • Finally, they are washed with water and rinsed three times using freshwater, bleach, and colored dyes to give better color results.
  • The absorbent cotton is then dried in special driers to remove excess moisture before it's combed out. Here it can be stretched out into sheets by machine or hand, usually to make cloth or yarn.
  • Finally, the yarn is sold to mills, where it can be twisted together into thread and dyed again before being woven into fabric.
Gossypium barbadense is a member of the Gossypiaceae family

Uses Of Cotton 

Cotton is one of the most versatile plants in the world. From its natural fiber to its seeds, cotton can be used in many ways. Apart from clothing and bedding, cotton can be used to make tools, paper, towels, and even fuel. Also, cotton has many industrial uses. Plus, the absorbent cotton fibers have been used since 3000 B.C, i.e., from the times of the Indus Valley Civilization.

  • Today's most common use of cotton is in the textile industry because it's relatively inexpensive and easy to work with. However, cotton can be expensive if you buy it directly from farmers.
  • People use cotton cloth because it is easy to wash and resistant to insects. The cotton fiber can be blended and made into woven fabrics like linen and silk.
  • The soft leaves of the cotton plant make comfortable pillows, mattresses, and bedsheets.
  • Today, cotton is used for making rayon fibers, which are then used to manufacture paper.
  • The average American consumes nearly 233.5 lb (1,058.231 kg) cotton per year. That's more than any other crop except corn.
  • The cottonseed oil is appropriate for human and animal use.
  • Among all-natural fibers, cotton is the most absorbent.

Countries That Grow Cotton

Cotton is an agricultural commodity and fiber that requires a lot of land and water to grow, so this crop is often grown in countries where large agricultural projects are common. 

Cotton is grown in various countries because of its versatility and economic benefits. This abundant product is grown in many developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Central America. 

According to a land area dedicated to cotton production, this part will look at the top three cotton-growing countries

  • China tops the list of being the largest exporter of cotton fibers globally as it produces around 6,612 t (6718102.16 kg) of cotton per year.
  • The next largest producer on the list is India, and the country produces around 6,413 t (6718102.16 kg) productions.
  • The United States produces around 3,181 t (3232045.2 kg)

Did you know?

Cotton is made from the stem of the cotton plant. It provides a host of benefits and is one of the most environmentally conscious textile materials. Cotton can be grown worldwide, and it's one of the most important fabric materials in use today and is better than synthetic fibers. 

  • Cotton grows at a high temperature.
  • Cotton can reduce allergic reactions in children who suffer from dust mite allergies.
  • Thomas Edison, in the late 1800s, used a cotton thread filament.
  • Studies have shown that the allergen levels in a child with allergies can be reduced by 40% by using cotton bedding and clothing. This helps to eliminate the reactions that can sometimes lead to serious health problems.
  • Cotton can be used to create environmentally friendly insulation. This is a process called 'fluffing .' The fibers are separated from the stem and then spun in the air to create fluffy insulation. The resulting cotton insulation is stronger and better at resisting moisture loss.
  • Cotton can absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture when it gets wet, but it retains 90-95% of its dry weight. This makes it highly resistant to mold, mildew, and other airborne contaminants.
  • Unlike synthetic fibers, cotton is a natural fiber; it does not produce any harmful chemicals when it is burned as synthetic fabric materials do.
  • Unprocessed cotton fibers have a 3 in (7.62 cm) diameter, making them ideal for use in clothing and bedding. The resulting clothing will easily breathe and absorb perspiration in warm weather.
  • Cotton is biodegradable, a feature that helps the environment by reducing carbon dioxide emissions and providing nutrition for microorganisms that consume organic matter in compost piles.
  • Cotton has natural breathability that keeps you cool in heat and cozy in the cold.
  • With prices now dipping below $1 per pound for some types, cotton is cheaper than many other fabric options, too.
  • It can be woven to create long-lasting clothing that resists odor and stains or mixed with wool to offer insulation without bulkiness.
  • Cotton is a staple crop for many farmers around the world.
  • The seed pod of the cotton plant is the place from where cotton comes. The seeds are harvested and processed into fibers, which are then spun into yarn or woven into fabric.
  • Cotton can be used in a wide variety of applications. From clothing to home furnishings, cotton is everywhere. Learn more about the top cotton facts below.
  • More than half of all cotton produced worldwide is consumed by just four countries: China, India, the USA, and Pakistan.
  • Cotton was first cultivated in Mexico around 5000 BC.
  • The Arab merchants brought cotton to Europe.
  • Cotton was introduced to America by colonists who found it useful as an alternative to flax.
  • Cotton was once so important in the colonial economy that it helped fund the American Revolution.
  • Benjamin Franklin invented the machine called the spinning Jenny that would produce enough thread to spin 24 pairs of pants in a day.
  • In 1851, there were only ten factories in the entire state of New York that could make gins. Today, there are over 4,000 cotton gin plants operating across the country.
  • Cotton is known as the dirtiest crop as it requires lots of pesticides.
  • Cotton has been around since ancient times. Its origins date back to prehistoric times. Cotton was used to make clothing, cloth, and even rope. Today, cotton is still widely used in textiles and other industries.
  • Cotton is an absolutely natural fiber that is derived from the cotton plant's seed pod (Gossypium hirsutum). The cotton plant grows in tropical regions worldwide. In 2016, global production of cotton reached nearly 4 million t (4064.19 million kg)
  • There are three main types of cotton fibers: lint, staple, and fuzz.
  • Benefits of cotton include its strength, durability, ease of processing, low cost, and biodegradability. It can be spun into yarns that can be woven or knitted into fabric. This fabric has many uses, including apparel.
  • Lint comprises short fibers that resemble the soft, curly hair-like part of the cotton fiber.
  • It is strong, durable, easy to dye, washable, and biodegradable, with a minimal environmental footprint.
  • The staple is the long, straight, coarse portion of the fiber. Staple length varies depending on the variety of cotton being grown. Lint lengths range from about 0.25 in (0.63 cm) for very fine varieties to over 3 in (7.62 in) for extra-long staples. Fuzz is the fluffy, cottony end of the cotton fiber. It comes off when the fiber is removed from the ball.
  • Staple length is measured by counting how many threads pass through a standard gauge eyelet. A standard-gauge eyelet is a hole with an internal diameter of 0.0254 in (0.064 cm).
  • The number of threads passing through the eyelet is called the count. For example, if there are 25 threads per linear foot, the staple would measure 0.625 in (1.58 cm).
  • Staple length is usually expressed as a fractional length. One hundred percent (100%) equals 0.625 in (1.58 cm). This means that every thread in the sample measures 0.625 in (1.58 cm). If the sample contains less than 100% of this length, it will be less than 0.625 in (1.58 cm). For example, 50% of the threads would measure 0.18 in (0.45 cm).
  • Fiber fineness is another way of describing the quality of cotton. Fineness refers to the size of individual filaments in a strand of cotton. Higher numbers indicate finer qualities. There are five different levels of fineness:
  • Fiber length is the distance between the tip of the fuzz and the tip of the lint. Fiber length is measured using a micrometer.
  • Fiber length is usually expressed as fractions of an inch. 100% equals 0.0025 in (0.00635 cm).

 

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 19 curious cotton facts that'll help you understand this amazing material then why not take a look at Ahmose facts: details on ancient Egyptian King revealed for kids, or 35 agricultural pollution facts and its effect on global warming?

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