VALUE ADDED AND HIGH-VOLUME COTTON PRODUCTS AND PROCESSES
Location: Cotton Chemistry and Utilization Research
Title: Effects of Mercerization of Cotton Fiber on the Absorption Properties of Cotton Nonwovens
Submitted to: American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists Review
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 1, 2006
Publication Date: April 15, 2006
Citation: Parikh, D.V., Thibodeaux, D.P., Moreau, J.P., Sachinvala, N.D., Robert Jr, K.Q., Sawhney, A.P., Goynes, W.R. 2006. Effects of Mercerization of Cotton Fiber on the Absorption Properties of Cotton Nonwovens. American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists Review. 6(4):38-43.
Interpretive Summary: The manuscript contains basic information on the laboratory mercerization and bleaching of greige cotton fibers and the use of mercerized cotton in nonwovens. Mercerization increases the water affinity of cotton. If mercerization can improve the total absorption capacity of cotton, it could potentially be useful in expanding the utilization of cotton in absorbent hygiene products. The current work suggests that although mercerization improves some useful absorption properties, the overall improvements are not sufficient to offset the additional significant costs of the mercerization process. This work can point the way to more economical methods for improving cotton's water absorbency.
This manuscript contains basic information on the laboratory mercerization and bleaching of greige cotton fibers and the use of mercerized cotton in nonwovens. Mercerization leads to an increase in water accessible regions of cotton fibers, resulting in improvements in moisture regain, water retentive valve (WRV), and depth of dye shade as compared to nonmercerized control fibers. Carded batts of (a) mercerized and subsequently bleached cotton fibers, and (b) nonmercerized bleached cotton control fibers were needlepunched. Needlepunched fabrics were studied for absorbency characteristics. Effectiveness of the fiber mercerization was evaluated by electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, dyeing, and a range of tests on absorbency. The rate of absorption and the total fluid holding capacity of the materials were determined by the Gravimetric Absorbency Testing Sytem (GATS). The Basket Test for Wettability and Capacity (BTWC) and the Water Retention Value (WRV) were also used in the evaluations. The test results have been interpreted to explain the mechanism of and, hence, the difference in absorbency of the two fibrous assemblies. The results of absorbency test suggest excellent effect of WRV but marginal or no benefits in total absorption capacities of mercerized fibers. Along with the high cost, this is the primary reason why mercerized cotton fiber is not exploited in absorbent hygiene products.