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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Combined Bleaching, Shrinkage Prevention, and Biopolishing of Wool Fabrics

Authors
item Cardamone, Jeanette
item Yao, Jiming - VISITING SCIENTIST
item Phillips, John

Submitted to: Textile Research Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 24, 2004
Publication Date: February 1, 2005
Citation: Cardamone, J.M., Yao, J., Phillips, J.G. 2005. Combined bleaching, shrinkage prevention, and biopolishing of wool fabrics. Textile Research Journal. 75(2):169-174.

Interpretive Summary: Wool has limited marketability because of its poor dimensional stability; it shrinks when wet if it is subjected to agitation with pressure, as occurs in refurbishing. We derived a peroxide system from the combination of hydrogen peroxide and dicyandiamide for whiteness and gluconic acid (GA) for imparting a smooth fabric handle. Peroxidized wool subsequently was treated with protease enzyme and sodium bisulfite, which smoothed the outer scales of the wool fiber to prevent the fiber interlocking that causes shrinkage. Fabrics so treated exhibited no shrinkage and no loss in mechanical properties. The introduction of this technology represents an advancement in wool technology that can easily be adopted by the textile mill, which will help establish the concept of wool as a stable and comfortable apparel fiber.

Technical Abstract: We had established that alkaline hydrogen peroxide systems that included dicyandiamide, gluconic acid, and Triton X surfactant, used alone or followed by enzyme treatments, controlled shrinkage in wool fabrics to 2.95% and 1.16%, respectively. We have perfected this system for complete shrinkage control with no loss in mechanical properties by utilizing the same pretreatment and enzyme applied from buffered triethanolamine solution that incorporated sodium sulfite. Fabrics treated by this method were bright in whiteness and exhibited a soft fabric handle with a smoothed fabric surface. Digital image analysis was used to quantify fiber projections above the fabric surface for a measurement of smoothness. Statistical analysis was applied utilizing a central composite design to find the optimum concentrations of enzyme, sodium sulfite and exposure time that maximize shrinkage control while maintaining adequate levels of tensile strength and weight loss.

Last Modified: 4/20/2014
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