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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics

Research Project: ACHIEVEMENT AND MAINTENANCE OF LABORATORY CONDITIONS

Location: Cotton Structure and Quality Research

2011 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
The objective of this research is to study fundamental issues on the requirements to achieve and maintain American Society for Testing and Materials/International Organization for Standards (ASTM/ISO) specified conditions for textile testing laboratories. A component of the objective is to examine the ways to monitor laboratory environmental conditions in order to determine when specified conditions have been achieved. Additionally, the best practices for the maintenance of the environmental conditions must be studied. The results from this research will provide guidelines for textile testing laboratories which will help standardize practices and reduce sources of error between laboratories. Consistent practices in the conditioning and testing of textile samples will benefit the global marketing and consumption of cotton.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
The approach for this project will combine a look at the Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) control theory at play in an environmentally controlled test lab with experimental work to determine proper approaches for “out of condition” events in the laboratory. HVAC control theory will be examined to provide guidance on sensor placement for both control and monitoring of laboratory conditions. Experimental work will be performed in a conditioning room to replicate real-world “out of condition” events and to monitor the effect of various responses to laboratory testing.


3.Progress Report

Cotton fiber properties, particularly those used in the marketing and classification of cotton, are known to be affected by environmental conditions, particularly relative humidity. This research is to determine best practices to help cotton testing laboratories achieve and maintain the required temperature and relative humidity. Increasing international trade and rising energy costs mean that laboratories need to control environmental conditions tighter than ever before in order to eliminate variation in test results while doing this in an energy efficient manner.

A survey was conducted in 2010 of a large number of laboratories around the world, along with extensive testing and site visits to determine a set of basic guidelines and best practices to achieve and maintain required environmental conditions. The American Society for Testing and Materials standard for environmental conditions for textile testing is currently being revised to incorporate the results of this research.

The methods used to monitor activities for this agreement were onsite visits, email, telephone and video teleconference communications, quarterly and annual summary reports to Cotton Incorporated, and presentations at scientific and industry meetings.


Last Modified: 10/26/2014
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