CHEMICAL MODIFICATIONS OF COTTON TEXTILES
Location: Cotton Chemistry and Utilization Research
Title: An efficient process for producing economical and eco-friendly cotton textile composites for mobile industry
Submitted to: World Journal of Engineering
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 12, 2010
Publication Date: July 2, 2010
Citation: Sawhney, A.P., Reynolds, M.L., Condon, B.D., Slopek, R.P., Hui, D. 2010. An Efficient process for producing economical and eco-friendly cotton textile composites for mobile industry. World Journal of Engineering. 7(1):150-153.
Interpretive Summary: The U.S. Cotton production and, especially, its domestic mill use are declining. One of the major factors in the declining use of cotton by the domestic textile industry is the latter’s uncompetitiveness with the textile manufacturers of the developing countries, China and India, in particular. The traditional textile manufacturing, which involves yarn spinning and weaving or knitting, is quite labor intensive. A relatively new and rapidly growing fabric production technology, commonly known as “nonwovens,” is highly productive; in fact, an order of magnitude more productive than the traditional textile manufacturing. However, the nonwovens industry today almost exclusively uses manmade, manufactured fibers, mostly fossil-based synthetic fibers, such as polyester and polypropylene. Less than 1% of cotton production goes into the nonwoven. About 80% of greige cotton production in bales goes into woven fabrics, approximately 15 percent goes into knitted goods (mostly undergarments), and approximately 4 to 5 percent goes as processing wastes. Preliminary research investigations have shown that the nonwovens industry, in which the U.S. can be competitive with the rest of the world, can efficiently use all types and qualities of cotton, including the cotton ginning and textile processing wastes that cannot be used in traditional textile manufacturing.
The mobile industry comprised of airplanes, automotives, and ships uses enormous quantities of various types of textiles. Just a few decades ago, most of these textile products and composites were made with woven or knitted fabrics that were mostly made with the then only available natural fibers, i.e., predominantly cotton. However, today, most of these so called technical textiles are made with nonwoven fabrics made with manufactured synthetic fibers, such as polyester. With the current “green revolution” in focus, research efforts are being devoted to revive and develop cotton-based textiles for the mobile industry. Preliminary research has shown that cotton indeed can be utilized to efficiently and environmentally produce certain nonwoven fabrics and composites for this industry, using an hydro-entanglement process for mechanically binding the fibrous mass. Despite the tremendous water pressure the cotton fiber is subjected to in this process, it seems that the latter preserves its morphology.