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2011, Vol. 6 No. 2, Article 92


Physico-mechanical Quality of Changthangi Pashmina Fibre

Nazir A. Bumla, Sarfaraz A. Wani, Asif H. Sofi*, DB Shakyawar1, Ishrat Yaqoob and F. D. Sheikh


Division of Livestock Products Technology
Faculty of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry
Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir
Shuhama, Alastang,Srinagar- 190006 (J&K), India.

1Division of Textile manufacturing and Textile Chemistry
Central Sheep and Wool Research Institute
Avikanagar, Jaipur Rajasthan-India


*Corresponding Author; e-mail address: sofihassanasif@yahoo.co.in



A study was conducted to assess the quality of Pashmina of Changthangi origin in terms of physico-mechanical properties. The parameters studied included undercoat percentage, fibre diameter (µ), fibre length (mm), tex (gwt/force), breaking load (gwt/tex), elongation percentage (%), tenacity (gm/tex) and compression properties. The undercoat percentage on w/w basis and N/N basis was 76.01±0.32 (%) and 87.52±1.12 (%) respectively,. Fibrediameter and fibre length of fine and guard hairs was found 12.28±0.11 (µ) and 67.77±1.08 (µ) and 49.04±0.19 (mm) and 80.07±0.15 (mm) respectively. Among the mechanical properties, tex, breaking load, elongation, tenacity, compressibility and compression resiliency was found to be 0.33±0.17(g.wt/force), 3.0±0.01(gwt/tex), 30.33±1.23 (%) , 7.6±0.98 (gm/tex), 50.3±2.37 (%) and 45.10±1.32 (%) respectively.


Pashmina, physico-mechanical parameters and quality.


Pashmina, a prince of specialty hair fiber is one of the finest natural animal fibers. It is a down fiber produced by a species of goat (Capra hircus). It is well known for its fineness, warmth, softness, desirable aesthetic value, elegance and timelessness in fashion. Pashmina derived its name from the Persian word “pashm” which means “soft gold” (Anon, 2005). It has occupied a unique position among the fibers of animal origin because of its warmth, lightness, handle and its ability to absorb dyes and moisture (Ryder, 1987). The leading Pashmina producing countries are China, Mongolia, Iran, Afghanistan, Australia, New Zealand, Russia and India. In India, Pashmina is obtained from Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir; Lahul and Spiti valley of Himachal Pradesh; Uttar Kashi, Chamoli and Pithoragarh districts of Uttaranchal. Since lot of variation exists between the quality of fibres from different breeds and countries of origin, hence the present study was undertaken with the objective of assessing the quality of Pashmina fibres of Changthangi origin in terms of both physical and mechanical properties as these parameters affect further suitability and quality of the fabric developed thereof.


a) Source of Raw material
The commercial grade-A Changthangi Pashmina utilized for the present study was procured from “All Changthangi Pashmina Growers Association, Leh Ladakh”. The bulk samples were taken from different bales of Pashmina collected from different areas at random.
b) Sampling
Samples were taken from raw Pashmina by Zoning and Halving method for analysis. The raw Pashmina lot was spread on a table and was uniformly mixed. The mixed lot was approximately divided into two halves. Out of two halves, one half was discarded. The other half was again thoroughly mixed uniformly and further divided into two halves. One part was again discarded. The method was repeated several times, till a requisite quantity of test sample was obtained.
c) Physico-mechanical Analysis
Undercoat percentage on w/w basis was done by weighing the raw samples. The samples were dehaired manually for separation of guard hairs and fine fibres. Both guard hairs and fine fibres were weighed separately and percentage was calculated on raw sample basis. The undercoat percentage on N/N basis was estimated as per the ISI specification No: IS-2899-1965. Fibre diameter was estimated on projectile microscopic method following the method specified as per ISI specification No IS-744-1966 whereas the fibre length was recorded in accordance with ISI specification No: IS-1377-1959. Mass per unit length (tex) of individual fibres was recorded on vibroscope following the procedure adopted by Hunter and Smith (1978) and Morton(1956). Breaking strength and extension percentage of fibre was recorded on Instrontensile tester as per the method of Booth (1968). The compression properties of the Pashmina fibre were also determined with the help of Instron tensile tester.
d) Statistical analysis
Data obtained from the study was analyzed statistically following the method of Snedecor and Cochran (1994). The data was processed in a computer using Statistical Package for social Sciences (SPSS) for evaluation of mean ± S.E.


The results pertaining to the physical quality of Pashmina fibre are presented in Table 1 & 2. The mean undercoat percentage of Pashmina on w/w basis as 76.01± 0.32 (%) whereas guard hair percentage was found as 23.99±0.98 (%) (Table 1). Our observation was in agreement with the results of Devillers et al. (2000). However, our results were towards higher side than values reported for undercoat percentage of 71.07 (%) by Ahmad and Gupta (1989) Wider variation of undercoat percentage on w/w basis, ranging from 22-66% in Indian breeds, 36-96% in Soviet breeds and 8-58% in Australian feral breeds was reported by Couchman and McGregor (1983). This wider variation in the fine percentage might be because of the differences in the genotypes of the breeds and difference in their respective agro climates.
The mean undercoat percentage on N/N basis reported as 87.52±1.12 (%) with a range of 78.90 to 92.90 (%) during present study was in agreement with the values ( 87.18 (%)) observed by Ahmad and Gupta (1989) . The fibre diameter of fine and guard hairs of Changthangi Pashmina was found as 12.25±0.11 (µ) and 67.77±1.08 (µ) (Table 2) respectively which was in close agreement with the observations of Ganaiet al (2004); and Dorkhan & Tomar (1983). The earlier reports of Acharya and Sharma (1980), Acharya (1983) and Ahmad & Gupta (1989) were towards higher micron value than our observation. More fineness reported in our study could be because of the differences in temperature which in winter season could reach even to –50şC in Changthangi area of Leh, Ladakh. Fibre length was found as 49.04±0.19 (mm) which is comparable with the earlier reported values of Ganai et al. (2004); Sahni (1981) and Acharya & Sharma (1980).
The results pertaining to the mechanical properties of Changthangi Pashmina fibre are delineated in Table 3 & 4. It is clear from Table 3 that the mean±S.E for the Tex(gm/km) of Pashmina fibre is 0.33±0.17 with a range of 0.27 - 0.52 which is slightly higher than the reported values of Patniet al. (1984) and Ahmad & Gupta (1989) wherein they reported the mean tex as 0.26 and 0.29 respectively. The breaking load was found as 3.0±0.01 with a range of 2.0 to 6.0 (g.wt/tex) which is slightly lower than the reported values of Ahmad & Gupta (1989). The difference could be because of the difference in the average fineness of the fibres between the two studies. Tenacity was found as 7.60 0.98 (g/tex) which is lower than the findings of Ahmad & Gupta (1989) and Patniet al. (1984) wherein they had reported the mean values as 11.81 and 12.3 respectively which could be because of the differences in the fibre fineness between the studies. The Pashmina fibre analyzed showed the elongation percentage as 30.33±1.25 (%) with a range of 20.5 to 44.9 (%). Compression (%) and Compression resiliency (%) studied in present study were found as 50.3±2.57 (%) and 45.10±1.23 (%). Since the literature is not available regarding the said parameters in case of Pashmina fibres, hence could not be compared. However the reported values of compression and resiliency for fine wool revealed that the Pashmina is better than wool as far as said parameters are concerned indicating better fullness and softness of Pashmina.


From the current study, it can be inferred that quality of Pashmina of changthangi origin in terms of physico-mechanical parameters is within the acceptable values.


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Table 1: Mean ± S.E Percentage of Fine and Guard Hairs in Raw Pashmina

Type of fibre



Range (%)
















Guard hairs






Table 2: Mean ± S.E of Physical Properties of Pashmina Fiber

Types of fiber

Fiber Diameter




Fiber Length (mm)





Fine Pashmina










Guard hair












Table 3: Mechanical Properties of Fine Pashmina Fiber




Tex (g/km)

0.33 ± 0.17


Breaking load (g.wt/tex)

3.0 ± 0.01


Elongation (%)

30.33 ±1.23

20.5 - 42.9

Tenacity (g/tex)

7.60 ± 0.98

5.3 - 14.21


Table 4: Compression Properties of Fine Pashmina Fiber




Compressibility (%)





Resiliency (%)




Figure in parenthesis indicate CV%.



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