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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Cotton Chemistry and Utilization Research

2008 Annual Report

1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
Design and create molecules that afford nonwovens resiliency in use and protection against open flames and microbial attack; design and prepare cotton-based polymer systems compatible with elastomers to generate new binary fibers and waterproof breathable membranes to make the products more useful as technical textiles; design and create cotton-derivatives that are water repellent and reactive with epoxies, isocyanates, and inorganic materials and explore their uses in making adhesives, coatings, and composites; and eliminate the need for sizing warp yarn for weaving.

1b.Approach (from AD-416)
The project will pursue research along four avenues. The first deals with generating molecules that impart dimensional stability and flame and microbial resistance to cotton, so that the new cotton derived materials pass or surpass in-use, stability, non-flammability, and antimicrobial test standards, as well as gain industrial acceptance. The second deals with polymer modified cotton fibers to enable cotton's use in new technical textiles, such as waterproof microporous membranes. The third searches for new water-repellent cotton derivatives that are reactive with epoxies, isocyanates, and inorganic materials for uses in adhesives, coatings, and composites. The fourth avenues focuses on eliminating sizing agents in warp yarn preparation to make weaving and textile operations efficient by creating reduced friction machine parts.

3.Progress Report
New Flame Resistant (FR) chemical compounds have been synthesized and tested for FR performance on cotton. Several systems show new promise in their FR and antimicrobial performance and permanence on fabric including large and small molecule systems. Use of cotton fiber as a composite material substrate have been investigated. A fiber reactive FR molecule was invented. Applications of existing and new FR and antimicrobial chemical systems on nonwoven substrates have been completed. These substrates are intended for use in mattresses and upholstery. The effectiveness of FR treatments on virgin cotton was measured. A new nonwovens pilot scale laboratory has been established to include traditional needlepunch and state of the art hydroentanglement (water-based) processing. Also, a new cotton cloth wet processing laboratory has been set up. Work is ongoing to develop a system to evaluate warp yarn frictional properties.

NP 306, Component: 2, Problem Area: a.

1. Economically Fabricated Cotton-Rich FR Mattress Pads

We have been able to fabricate cotton-rich nonwoven pads with Flame Retardant (FR) properties. These FR Cotton-based pads pass the California standard tests for mattress materials. By an optimized use of combination of FR fibers and chemical treatment of cotton, FR properties are accomplished at a low cost.

NP 306, Component 2, Problem Area a.

2. Flame and stain resistant cotton

Large scale samples of nitro-benzyl cellulose (substituted cotton) and amino-benzyl cellulose (cotton) were prepared and characterized by specialized techniques such as FT-IR (fourier transform infrared, CP/MAS 13C NMR (cross-polarization/magic-angle spinning 13 carbon nuclear magnetic resonance), and TGA (thermogravimetry analysis). These reactions serve as models for future heterogeeous cotton fiber finishing technology with applications in wash fast flame and stain resistance.

NP 306: Component 2, Problem Statement: a.

5.Significant Activities that Support Special Target Populations

6.Technology Transfer


Review Publications
Ruppenicker Jr, G.F., Sawhney, A.P., Kimmel, L.B., Price, J.B. 2007. Influence of Cotton Fiber Quality on the Strength Properties of Cotton Fabrics Treated with Flame-resistant and Easy Care Finishes. American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists Review. 7(11):43-48.

Parikh, D.V., Thibodeaux, D.P., Condon, B.D. 2007. X-ray crystallinity of bleached and crosslinked cottons. Textile Research Journal. 77(8):612-616.

Last Modified: 4/17/2014
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