VALUE ADDED AND HIGH-VOLUME COTTON PRODUCTS AND PROCESSES
Location: Cotton Chemistry and Utilization Research
Title: SIZE-FREE WEAVING OF COTTON FABRIC ON A MODERN HIGH-SPEED WEAVING MACHINE: A PROGRESS REPORT
Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 15, 2006
Publication Date: May 2, 2006
Citation: Sawhney, A.P., Singh, K.V., Sachinvala, N.D., Condon, B.D. 2006. Size-free weaving of cotton fabric on a modern high-speed weaving machine: a progress report. National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference. p. 2,491-2,496.
Interpretive Summary: Approximately 70 % of cotton produced worldwide is utilized in the production of woven textiles, which obviously makes the weaving sector of textile industry a by far the largest market for cotton. The weaving process involves centuries-old operations of warp yarn sizing to assist efficient weaving and fabric desizing to achieve quality fabric dyeing and finishing. Both warp sizing and fabric desizing are costly, complex, and environmentally sensitive. The textile industry wants to eliminate, if at all feasible, the warp sizing to reduce cost of production of woven fabrics and, more importantly, to improve the industrial environment. Cotton research scientists at Southern Regional Research Center, ARS, USDA, have conducted, under mill-like conditions, a real weaving trial on a modern high-speed weaving machine and demonstrated the mechanical feasibility of weaving a 100% cotton fabric without the traditional warp sizing. For the first time ever, about 150 yards of light twill fabrics have been produced without the traditional warp sizing and without any warp yarn breakage or failure. Indeed, this is a pioneering research development and a significant milestone in size-less weaving. However, the quality of fabrics produced is unsatisfactory mainly due to presence of small, unsightly fuzzy balls on the fabric surface. These fabric defects are mainly due to abrasion of the warp yarns in the reed-sweep zone (during weaving) and perhaps partly due to disintegration of the yarn structure by repeated mechanical stresses, i.e., by the yarn extensions and relaxations at a high-frequency. Multidirectional efforts are underway to understand the problems and seek their remedial solutions.
A weaving trial with a size-less cotton warp yarn (20/1 Ne) was conducted under mill-like conditions on a modern high-speed, flexible-rapier weaving machine. About 150 yards of a 1/2-twill fabric (64 epi and up to 56 ppi - face down) was produced at speeds up to 500 picks per minute without any warp yarn failure or breakage. This certainly was a very encouraging achievement, which at least demonstrated for the first time ever the "mechanical feasibility" of size-less weaving of 100% cotton yarns on a modern high-speed weaving machine. However, the quality of the fabric produced was not satisfactory, mainly because of the random formation of unsightly, tiny fibrous balls on the fabric surface. The fuzzy ball formation most likely was partly due to abrasion of the warp yarn (yarn-against-yarn and yarn-against-loom-components) and partly due to disintegration of the warp yarn during weaving. The yarn disintegration probably occurred due to some loss of yarn twist by the yarn’s repeated extensions and relaxations (i.e., by the so-called yarn dancing) at a high frequency. Multi-prong efforts to eliminate the referenced fabric defects are continuing. Brief discussions of the weaving trial, weaving performance, and fabric quality comprise this paper.