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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Influence of Structure and Moisture on Cotton Fiber Properties

Location: Cotton Structure and Quality Research

Title: Cotton fiber properties relative humidity and its effect on flat bundle strength elongation and fracture morphology

Authors
item Santiago Cintron, Michael
item Ingber, Bruce

Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: February 16, 2012
Publication Date: April 16, 2012
Citation: Santiago Cintron, M., Ingber, B.F. 2012. Cotton fiber properties relative humidity and its effect on flat bundle strength elongation and fracture morphology. National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference. p.1261-1264.

Interpretive Summary: It is well known that cotton fibers instantly change their moisture content by interacting with the water moisture in their surrounding atmosphere. As water moisture content in the fibers changes, several physical properties of the fiber are significantly affected. In this study, the effects of relative humidity (RH), a factor that affects the atmospheric moisture content, on the strength and elongation of cotton fibers, and on the appearance of fiber breaks were investigated. Stelometer tests performed in conditions with higher RH generally resulted in higher strength and elongation values. The appearance of broken fibers was also affected by the testing conditions. Fibers broken at high RH (i.e., 71 ± 2°F and 80 ± 2% RH) showed a more frayed fracture where microfibrils were evident. In contrast, at standard conditions (i.e. 70 ± 2°F and 65 ± 2% RH) fiber fractures were more even. These findings are of relevance to moisture control efforts currently employed in industry, and they may lead to a better understanding of the effects of breaks and fiber damage on cotton fiber properties.

Technical Abstract: It is well known that cotton fibers readily exchange moisture content with their surrounding atmosphere. As moisture exchange progresses, several physical properties of the fiber are significantly affected. In this study, the effects of relative humidity (RH), a factor that affects the atmospheric moisture content, on cotton bundle strength and elongation measurements, and on fiber fracture morphology were investigated. Stelometer tests performed in conditions with higher RH generally resulted in higher strength and elongation values. The morphology of broken fibers was also affected by the testing conditions. Fibers broken at high RH (i.e., 71 ± 2°F and 80 ± 2% RH) showed a more frayed fracture where microfibrils were evident. In contrast, at standard conditions (i.e. 70 ± 2°F and 65 ± 2% RH) fiber fractures were more granular. These findings are of relevance to moisture control efforts currently employed in industry, and they may lead to a better understanding of the effects of fractures and damage on cotton fiber properties.

Last Modified: 12/22/2014