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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Wool shrinkproofing by chemical and ezymatic methods

item Cardamone, Jeanette

Submitted to: Wool International Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/2010
Publication Date: 10/19/2010
Citation: Cardamone, J.M. 2010. Wool shrinkproofing by chemical and ezymatic methods. 12th International Wool Research Conference Proceedings. October 19-22, 2010, Shanghai, China. 1:166.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The uniqueness of wool, its functionality, morphology, physical/ mechanical behavior, and aesthetics, continue to be topics for innovative research to improve properties and create novel products. The perennial problems of yellowness, discomfort in wear, and shrinkage have been addressed over time as isolated and combined topics of investigations altering morphology and chemistry with processes designed to prevent or limit negative impact on wool’s appearance and performance. Chemical bleaching with alkaline peroxide and shrinkproofing with chlorination have limited economy and ecological acceptance. The ARS Process for bleaching, biopolishing, and shrink-proofing wool requires near-room-temperature conditions with short exposure times to reach high levels of whiteness, softness, and dimensional stability, and the design has implications for sustainability with low energy and low impact on the environment. Scanning electron micrographs of fibers from ARS-treated fabrics showed erosion of wool’s surface scales without fiber damage to limit felting shrinkage to less than 2%, the indication of a mercerizing effect on cotton limiting shrinkage to 4%, and complete shrinkage control of viscose challis. After processing, the mechanical properties of the fabrics and the structural integrity of the fibers were preserved. High concentration ARS bleaching when applied with high concentrations of bath constituents produced parchment wool jersey fabric with permanent stiffness and 45.5% increase in sheerness as determined by pixel segmentation using digital image analysis to isolate yarn interstices. The ARS Process is described as a novel development based on outcomes and findings of past investigations of chlorination, conventional alkaline bleaching and enzyme treatment to control the dimensional stability of wool.

Last Modified: 07/26/2017
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