Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/12/2010
Publication Date: 7/26/2010
Citation: Sawhney, A.P., Condon, B.D., Reynolds, M.L., Slopek, R.P. 2010. Cotton-based nonwovens. Proceedings of the 30th International Cotton Advisory Council Conference. 154-165. Interpretive Summary: A vast majority of current end-use markets for nonwovens are “non-apparel” and “disposable or non-reusable.” Because of the cost and other important factors, these markets historically have avoided cotton and, therefore, the fiber’s unique properties have not been adequately investigated, appreciated and utilized. The Agricultural Research Service of the USDA has initiated a comprehensive research program at the Southern Regional Research Center in New Orleans, LA, to identify the problems facing the nonwovens industry and search solutions to those problems, in order to promote increased use of cotton in nonwovens. This manuscript describes the new ARS-USDA initiative to address the subject matter.
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 in-house 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.