Submitted to: American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists Review
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/14/2012
Publication Date: 11/1/2012
Citation: Condon, B.D., Easson, M.W., Yachmenev, V., Lambert, A.H., Smith, J.N. 2012. Low-level, uniform ultrasound field effects on enzymatic bioprocessing of greige cotton using three fabric weights. American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists Review. 12(6):45-50. Interpretive Summary: For decades the textile industry has relied upon the use of a caustic aqueous process to scour textiles prior to dyeing procedures. This results in the generation of large quantities of alkaline waste streams which require neutralization at additional cost. In addition to the use of caustic substances, large amounts of energy are required to heat the water necessary to scour the textiles. Our research has found that the application of a uniform ultrasound field in combination with enzymes is an effective alternative process which delivers a scoured textile product of comparable quality to the conventional alkaline process without generating a waste stream and at a lower temperature. As a further benefit, our research has found that the application of a combination of enzymes and ultrasound reduced the time required to scour the fabric when compared to conventional process times. If this alternative process were adopted industry-wide, it would significantly reduce the amount of water required in the textile industry to process fabric, reduce costs and time, and be receptively acknowledged by the ever-increasingly environmentally conscious consumer.
Technical Abstract: Ultrasound-assisted enzymatic bio-processing of greige cotton offers an environmentally friendly alternative approach to conventional alkaline scouring. Our research has found that the introduction of a low energy, uniform ultrasound field into enzyme processing solutions greatly improved enzyme effectiveness by significantly increasing their reaction rate. On a laboratory scale, introduction of ultrasonic energy in the reaction chamber during enzymatic bio-preparation of three greige cotton fabric weights resulted in a significant improvement in the wettability as measured by AATCC RA63 Water Resistance, Absorbency, and Wetting Agent Evaluation Test. The whiteness indexes were evaluated and the results are reported herein.