VALUE ADDED AND HIGH-VOLUME COTTON PRODUCTS AND PROCESSES
Location: Cotton Chemistry and Utilization Research
Title: Properties of Nonwoven Fabrics made with UltraClean™ Cotton
Research conducted cooperatively with:
Submitted to: World Journal of Engineering
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 13, 2010
Publication Date: July 2, 2010
Citation: Condon, B.D., Gary, L., Sawhney, A.P., Reynolds, M.L., Slopek, R.P., Delhom, C.D., Hui, D. 2010. Properties of nonwoven fabrics made with UltraClean™ cotton. World Journal of Engineering. 7(2):180-184.
Interpretive Summary: The USDA is exploring new avenues to increase use of cotton. One of them is the so called nonwovens that directly are fabricated from cotton fiber without the traditional spinning and weaving or knitting. The nonwovens are growing rapidly, i.e., much faster than the traditional textiles. However, the present use of cotton in nonwoven structures and products is almost negligible (less than 2%). Furthermore, most of this thin 2% cotton usage entails either the bleached cotton mostly for medical products or the low-grade, discounted cottons and/or cotton ginning products for bedding, furniture padding, and absorbent wiping applications. The use of bleached cotton is costly, complex and environmentally sensitive. Therefore, the USDA’s emphasis is on conducting research to expand use of virgin/greige cotton in manufacture of nonwovens. In a collaborative study with a U.S. cotton producer/ginner, the latter’s uniquely cleaned, UltraCleanTM greige cotton was processed on a commercial hydro-entanglement (H-E) system to produce nonwoven structures of 100% cotton content. The process and product evaluations obtained from this preliminary study indicate that the UltraClean greige (scour/bleach-less) cotton may be processed without the traditional cotton cleaning, which is a significant plus, especially for existing nonwovens manufacturers who generally do not have the cotton cleaning equipment and technical expertise.
A number of needle-punched and hydro-entangled nonwoven fabrics have been produced on commercial equipment, using UltraCleanTM greige (scour/bleach-less) cotton. The various processes involved in the production of hydro-entangled nonwoven fabrics mostly went smoothly without any significantly unresolved problems or difficulties. The cotton fiber used and the nonwoven fabrics made thereof have been extensively tested under standard procedures and conditions. To explore utilization of greige cotton in modern nonwovens, this initial, preliminary study presents the scientific information obtained from a USDA - Cotton Producer/Ginner collaborative study that was conducted with a super-clean greige/virgin cotton that needed no user-mill cleaning, which is so critical especially for existing nonwovens roll-goods manufacturers. The scientific information provided here includes the fiber properties, process parameters and conditions, fabric properties, and some of their interactive effects.