Class 7 Chemistry Fibre to Fabric Processing of cocoon to silk

Processing of cocoon to silk

Step I:     The first step towards obtaining silk is rearing of silkworms done when mulberry trees bear a fresh crop of leaves.

  • The hundreds of eggs laid by female silk moth are stored carefully on strips of cloth or paper and are then sold to silkworm farmers where the eggs are kept under hygienic and suitable conditions of temperature and humidity for their proper growth.

  • They are then warmed to a suitable temperature. This enables the larvae to hatch from eggs. The larvae also known as caterpillar or silkworms are kept in bamboo trays and are served with freshly chopped mulberry leaves. They eat day and night and increase a lot in size.

  • After 25 to 30 days, the silkworms stop eating and move to a tiny chamber of bamboo in the tray having small racks or twigs to spin cocoons. The silkworm spins the cocoon inside which further development into the silk moth takes place.

Step II:   The second step towards obtaining silk is the processing of silk. The pile of cocoons used to obtain silk fibres are kept under the sun or boiled or else exposed to steam to separate the silk fibres. This process is known as reeling the silk and is done using machines which unwinds the threads or fibres of silk from the cocoon which are then spun into silk threads, and are woven into silk cloth by weavers.


Fig. Boiling cocoon (left) and reeling of silk (right)

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