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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Cotton Structure and Quality Research

Title: Saved-Ends Analysis of Fiber Breakage in Cotton Processing by use of Number-Based Averages

item Robert Jr, Kearny

Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: December 1, 2006
Publication Date: February 1, 2007
Citation: Robert Jr, K.Q. 2007. Saved-Ends Analysis of Fiber Breakage in Cotton Processing by use of Number-Based Averages. National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference.

Interpretive Summary: Fiber breakage in bale production is a pervasive problem for both the production and utilization of U.S. cotton. Fiber breakage is particularly bad for textile production. Excessive fiber breakage detracts from profits of both the producer and textile processor. A major part of the cost of fiber breakage for U.S. cotton lies in the global market disadvantage that breakage lends it due to our aggressively mechanized production. It is essential for the cotton industries to have powerful new tools for the measurement and analysis of fiber breakage in order to facilitate the mitigation of propensity for gratuitous breakage in all phases of the U.S. cotton breeding, production, and ginning systems. Methods for the detection of fiber breakage are urgently needed for improvement of the quality of the cotton commodity. The present work derives five such mathematical tools and offers a simple experimental demonstration of their utility. There is an important market opportunity here for the cotton production industries. If they can learn to control and minimize excess cotton damage in bale-production processes such as harvesting, seed cotton cleaning, ginning, and lint cleaning, while simultaneously optimizing fiber cleaning, then they can produce cotton that can be marketed as a raw material of premium quality for textile manufacturing.

Technical Abstract: Many of USDA’s existing research data on fiber processing include mean values of length-distribution parameters, but not complete length histogram data. A specific goal of this work was to derive mathematically and demonstrate experimentally in the laboratory new engineering research tools that utilize only mean values of length for the analysis of fiber breakage. These techniques allow expanded interpretations of both existing and future data by quantitatively relating fiber breakage to changes in average length rather than length histograms. These tools potentially can be applied to measure the degree and nature of breakage that occurs in a batch of cotton during passage through an individual stage of mechanical handling. This work was focused specifically on the properties of number-based averages of fiber length because fiber length by number has the special feature that simple, practical relationships exist between the mean values. That situation that is more complicated for the mass-based averages. Saved-ends analysis was used, based on the tracking of number-mean length under the assumption of a complete mass balance. Calibrated experimental breakage was applied in the laboratory to a very uniform sliver substrate by cutting it at controlled gage lengths. The mathematical tools were then demonstrated successfully with experimental data from instrument measures of fiber length before and after these processes of known breakage intensity.

Last Modified: 4/16/2014
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