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Introduction to Camel Hair

The Camelus is part of the Camelidae Gray family. The Camel is made up of two sub-
species: One humped Two humped.

The one humped Arabian camel is found throughout Africa, Arabia, and the Near East
and, to a lesser extent, in other areas of Asia. It was imported into the Canary Islands,
Spain, the former USSR, and to various Central and South American countries and
Australia, where it adapted to local conditions.

The two humped species, known as the Bactrian camel, is bred in Eastern and Central
Asia. Surviving in extremely cold climates, the Bactrian camel has been used throughout
history by the Tartars, the Mongols and the Chinese. It is not a particularly intelligent
animal, having a difficult and capricious character. Both species are used as pack
animals, for riding, and sometimes for sport. Camel hair raw material is largely obtained
from the double humped Bactrian camel.
Production of Camel Hair

Details on the production of camel hair are very limited. China recorded national
production of 1800 tones of camel hair, of which 56% came from Inner Mongolia. In this
same period, China exported 546 tones.

Structure and appearance

Camel wool fibers are not as fine as cashmere they are usually about 10-40µ wide. The
surface of the fiber is covered with scales which cannot easily be seen under the
microscope. The scales have diagonal edges. The cortical layer of the camel wool fiber is
marked by striations due to strings of colored pigment granules that give the fiber its
characteristics pale red brown color.

Cross section view longitudinal view

Some fibers have distinct medullae which are often fragmentary. Seen in cross section,
fibers are circular or oval.


Tensile strength

Tenacity: 15.7 cN/ tex (16g/tex)


39 – 40 percent
Elastic properties

Elastic recovery from:-

50 percent breaking load: 0.8

50 percent breaking load: 0.7

Work of rupture: 4.6 cN/ Tex (4.7 g/ Tex)

Initial modulus: 294 cN/tex (300 g/Tex)

Specific gravity


Effect of moisture

Regain 13 percent

Effect of heat

Camel fibers become weak and lose its softness when heated. At 130OC. It decomposes
and turns yellow, and it chars at 300OC.

Effect of alkalis

The chemical nature of protein is such that it is particularly sensitive to alkaline

substance. It will dissolve in caustic soda solution that would have little effect on cotton.

Effect of organic solvents

Camel hair has good resistance to dry cleaning and other common solvents

Attack of insect

It is attacked by moth-grubs and by other insects.

Attach by micro organism

Camel hair has a poor resistance to mildews and bacteria and it is not advisable to leave
camel hair for too long in a damp conditions.
Thermal properties

Camel's hair is also a fiber that supplies warmth without added weight. The hair contains
thermostatic properties which can protect and insulate the camel from the extreme cold
conditions as well as keeping them cool in the desert. The same properties and
characteristics are transferred when making fabrics woven from camel hair.

Fiber Characteristics of Camel Hair

Camel hair, like cashmere, comprises two qualities: relatively coarse outer hair and inner
down fiber. The best fiber is found in Inner Mongolia and Mongolia. The fine down fiber
varies from 19-24 microns (fiber diameter) and varies between 2.5 and 12.5 cm in length.
The outer hair of the camel is coarse and can be up to 37.5 cm in length with a diameter
of 20-120 microns. Some of the fiber shortness in commercial camel preparations may
result from the dehairing process. The micron counts for camel fiber have huge range.
While the down average 20 to 23 microns (similar to merino wool). Camel hair has less
crimp and small amount of elasticity.

1) Bactrian camel mane hair (left); 2) Bactrian camel hair (right).

Camel hair is generally camel colored (a medium reddish brown) but anything from
creamy white t almost black can be found within the camel population.

Seven samples showing the color range of camel fiber.

Manufacturing of Camel Fiber

There are five primary steps

1. Collection – by shearing or moulting

2. Sorting – coarse hair separated from soft hair

3. Dehairing

4. Spinning,

5. Weaving or knitting.

6. Processing


Collection of the camel hair is done either by shearing or collecting during the moulting
season. When the camel moults it does not lose its hair all at once: first the neck hair falls
off, then the mane and finally the body hair. This process takes place over a six to eight
week period starting in late spring. The hair can also be obtained by a number of
methods: by combing, by shearing and simply by collecting the clumps of hair shed
naturally during the moulting season.

1) Mongolian
Camel down bat

2)2-ply yarn, 160 yards per


3) Neck handkerchief.


Like cashmere, only the down hair is used in the production of yarn. Varying from
reddish to light brown, the hair is sorted according to shade and age of the animal. Baby
camel hair, which has an average diameter of about 19 microns and a length of 2.5-12.5
cm, is the finest and softest. It holds greater prestige but it is not currently in greater
demand than adult hair as its high premium is beyond its economic value.

During the winter the Bactrian camel produces long, thick hair. A type of mane grows
around the neck. Long hair is also found on the joints of the elbows, knees and on the
limbs. The most common color is reddish brown, with variants from brown to grey. The
white fleece is the most valued but is very rare.


Camel fiber contains around 25% of trash and impurities..

Scouring, Removal of fat, sweat and other impurities from raw camel fiber usually by
means of heated water, soap and soda ash or other detergents. The sorted hair are washed
and then dehaired. Some time carbonizing is also done to remove cellulosic impurity by
acid treatment followed by neutralization by alkali. Then fiber drying is done to remove
excess water.

1) Washed camel
hair and down
2) 2-ply yarn, 120 yards
per ounce;

3) bag.


Blending. Camel fiber has the ability to spin individually but most of time it is blended
with wool or other hair fibers. The mixing of different fibers materials for price, color,
quality regularity and effect purposes.

Carding, the process of carding is done for disentanglement and intimate mixing together
of the fibers and colors. Meanwhile it also removes the vegetable matters and any hard
thread present. There are two types of process used worsted and woolen. Worsted is a
strong, long-staple, combed wool yarn with a hard surface. Woollen is a soft, short-staple,
carded wool yarn typically used for knitting. In traditional weaving, woollen weft yarn
(for softness and warmth) is frequently combined with a worsted warp yarn for strength
on the loom.

Yarn preparations. After carding two types of spinning process are used for camel fibers.
Ring spinning and flyer spinning. By using this system we make the yarn of required
thickness and number of turns of twist per unit length.
Twisting if required is done by combining together two or more spun yarns for the
purpose of providing strength, regularity, surface characteristics, special effects or a
combination of colors.

Reeling and winding. Reeling is forming the yarn into hanks of definite length, for dyeing
or for hand knitting for carpet yarn while winding is transferring single or twisted yarn on
cones for weaving and knitting.


Weaving mechanism of camel fiber depends on type of yarn i.e. woollen or worsted.
Woolen fabric is formed at low speed while worsted fabric can be formed at high speed.
Dobby and jacquard weaving is used for making ladies garment and tappet and dobby
mostly used for gents garments.


Fabrics containing camel's hair are left in the natural state or dyed to a darker shade of
brown. The dyeing process may be applied at one of the following stages.

Loose fiber dying

Yarn dying

Piece dying

Loose fiber dyeing

At one time open dye vats were use universally with the camel fiber ‘poled’ manually in
the steam heated dye liquor. Modern methods use machines in which the heated dye
liquor is circulated through the fibers by a pump or propeller. The camel fiber is held in
some type of perforated container positioned within a stainless steel outer vat. This
facilitates emptying the machines after dyeing; for the container and wool can be hoisted
out of the vat and unloaded away form the machine.

Yarn dyeing
Yarn may be dyed either in hanks or on specially wound soft cheeses. Hank dyeing is the
older method and the hank of yarn are arranged in framework and lowered into the dye
vat. The dye liquor is circulated through the hanks by mean of a pump or impeller. The
cheeses are very loosely wound and are stacked on perforated spindles each of which
holds about six cheeses. The spindles are fitted into the dyeing machine and dye liquor is
forced through them and through the cheeses of yarn. Arrangements are provided for
reversing the direction of liquor flow to assist penetration.

Piece dyeing

Piece dyeing is done in a winch machine, which consists essentially of a specially shaped
stainless steel tank about which is the winch itself a rotating reel placed about the surface
of the dye liquor. This winch carries the piece round and round through the liquor in the
form of an endless band, while the dye liquor is slowly raised to the boil and maintained
at this temperature until the dyeing in finished, the dissolved color is poured into a
compartment of the tank called a stuffing box which allow the dye to diffuse slowly into
the dye bath, and also holds the heating device so that it does not make direct contact
with the cloth. Modern machines are often totally enclosed but have windows to enable
the pieces to be see during dyeing.

End Uses of Camel Hair

The fine fur fibers are woven or blended with fine wool for overcoat, top coat, and
sportswear, sports hosiery.
The long hair removed by the dehairing process is used to make felt for the Mongolian
yurts or tents and for the herdsmen's winter coats, which are very warm and completely
waterproof. It is also used for carpet backing. The strong, springy hair of the camel mane
is used for interlinings and the outer hair is traditionally used in bedding.

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