VALUE ADDED AND HIGH-VOLUME COTTON PRODUCTS AND PROCESSES
Location: Cotton Chemistry and Utilization Research
Title: Size-Free Weaving of Cotton Fabrics on a Modern High-Speed Weaving Machine: An Updated Progress Report
Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: September 27, 2006
Publication Date: June 15, 2006
Citation: Sawhney, A.P., Singh, K.V., Condon, B.D., Pang, S. 2006. Size-Free Weaving of Cotton Fabrics on a Modern High-Speed Weaving Machine: An Updated Progress Report. National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference. 2491-2496.
Interpretive Summary: Warp sizing continues to be an essential process in weaving cotton fabrics from singles yarns. However, the warp sizing for efficient weaving and the subsequent fabric desizing for quality finishing are costly, complex and environmentally-sensitive processes. Based on input from cotton textile industry, the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently initiated research to explore feasibility of weaving cotton fabrics without the traditional warp yarn sizing/coating with a suitable adhesive. The research conducted thus far has at least demonstrated the "mechanical feasibility" of size-free weaving of certain fabrics on both conventional fly-shuttle and modern weaving machines. Hundreds of yards of fabrics of relatively light constructions have been woven without sizing and, more importantly, with no yarn breakage or failure. This indeed is a significant milestone in cotton textile processing. However, the fabric quality still is unsatisfactory due to numerous tiny soft balls that most likely are caused by excessive abrasion of the warp yarns during weaving. Efforts are continuing to improve the fabric quality.
Weaving experiments to produce 1/2-twill fabrics of varied constructions, using a size-free (common) cotton warp, have been conducted under mill-like conditions on a modern, high-speed, flexible-rapier weaving machine. More than 100 yards of fabrics of the same warp density and different pick densities have been produced, for the first time ever, with no warp yarn failure or breakage. The weaving speeds were up to 500 picks per minute. This certainly demonstrated that the size-less weaving of 100% cotton yarns on a modern high-speed weaving machine is at least mechanically feasible for certain types of fabrics. However, as it was reported in a previous conference, the physical appearance (quality) of the fabrics is not satisfactory, mainly due to a random formation of numerous, tiny, unsightly fibrous balls that are formed in the ‘reed sweep,’ particularly at or near the cloth fell (beat-up), and appear on the fabric surface. Although the greige fabrics were manually inspected to determine the frequency and possible causes and remedies of the stated tiny defects, the fabrics could not be objectively tested for their mechanical properties before the devastating hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and caused a massive flooding that severely damaged the USDA-ARS research facilities, including the lab where the fabrics were being inspected. However, the fabrics were retrieved from the flooded lab, ordinarily washed, and objectively tested, as much as possible, at the Textile Department of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This paper briefly reviews the previous work and gives the test results of the mechanical properties of the fabrics.