Title: Cotton-based nonwovens Authors
Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: February 12, 2010
Publication Date: July 26, 2010
Citation: Sawhney, A.P., Condon, B.D., Reynolds, M.L., Slopek, R.P. 2010. Cotton-based nonwovens. Proceedings of 30th International Cotton Conference Bremen. 12p. Technical Abstract: This article is an abbreviated description of a new cotton-based nonwovens research program at the Southern Regional Research Center, which is one of the four regional research centers of the Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Since cotton is a significant cash crop internationally, the mission of the research program is to aggressively promote value-added utilization of cotton in the rapidly growing nonwovens that are economical, functionally efficient, eco-friendly, and sustainable. Success of the research program is being sought through major inhouse research objectives; through close interactions with the cotton producers, ginners, users, consumers, and marketers; and through technology transfer to industry. The in-house research facilities include: 1) a commercial cotton opening and cleaning line; 2) a modified cotton card with regulated chute feed; 3) a modern, state-of-the-art nonwovens production line that is comprised of a cross-lapper, a needle-punch machine, and a hydro-entangling system; 4) a complete Mathis laboratory for conducting almost all kinds of textile wet processing, including scouring, bleaching, dyeing, steaming, coating, laminating, calendaring, and almost any special, function-specific, chemical and/or enzymatic finishing; 5) several chemical labs for conducting basic textile chemistry research; and 6) a wide array of instruments and textile testing equipment for assessing quality of the research outcomes. Although the current consumption of cotton in nonwovens, for one reason or another, is negligible, i.e., about 1 % of all the fibers used in nonwovens today 1, 2, a preliminary research conducted at the Center has shown that baled, virgin/greige cotton, as received from gins, can be efficiently processed on modern, staple-fiber nonwovens production systems and that quality of the experimental nonwoven substrates produced thus far is satisfactory from the industrial standpoint. Production and quality data of certain 100% cotton nonwoven substrates are provided in this article. Several nonwovens roll-goods manufacturers and retailers have expressed keen interest in the development of cotton-containing nonwoven products, especially wipes. We anticipate that cotton can be useful in many other end-use applications of nonwoven products. However, this article only gives a brief introduction and a general technical overview of the cotton-based nonwovens program at the Center.