Submitted to: World Journal of Engineering
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/22/2012
Publication Date: 1/5/2013
Citation: Sawhney, A.P., Allen Jr, H.C., Reynolds, M.L., Slopek, R.P., Condon, B.D. 2013. Whiteness and absorbency of hydroentangled cotton-based nonwoven fabrics of different constituent fibers and fiber blends. World Journal of Engineering. 10(2):125-132. Interpretive Summary: Cotton, being a natural, absorbent, easily biodegradable, and, hence, green sustainable fiber, continues to be the most sought-out fiber for many traditional textiles, such as woven and knitted fabrics for apparel, household, medical and industrial end-use products. However, its usage in one of the fastest growing, modern technical/nonwoven arena of textiles is very limited due to several factors, including its ability to be competitive with man-made fibers that mostly are used in modern nonwovens. One major market of nonwovens, where we think cotton can be cost effectively used to attain desired performance that is comparable to existing man-made-fiber-based nonwoven products, is the wipes for personal, household and industrial uses. To demonstrate the feasibility of efficiently using cotton in wipes, the research was directed towards utilizing low-cost greige (non-bleached) cotton and cotton co-products, such as gin motes and comber noils, in blend with man-made fibers, which ultimately would yield the desired aesthetic and functional attributes of whiteness and absorbency for the wiping products. The research has shown that the greige cotton in blend with a bright polyester fiber can indeed yield acceptable levels of the stated, desired properties. The continuing research and development in this area of interest are expected to increase use of cotton in the nonwovens.
Technical Abstract: This manuscript reports result of the research efforts devoted to the exploration and development of greige (non-bleached) cotton-containing nonwoven fabrics that likely could be made optimally competitive in cost, quality and performance to existing products that presently and predominantly use man-made fibers and some bleached cotton for wipes and other similar end-use products. Since the whiteness and absorbency of these end-use products generally are the most desired and perhaps even critical attributes, the research was mainly focused on attaining these attributes by exploring various choices and optimum use of a variety of cost effective cotton fibers and blends thereof. Nonwoven fabrics were produced, via a modern hydroentanglement system, with possible choices of using several types of cotton fibers, including the greige cotton lint and its certain co-products such as gin motes and comber noils, and their various blends with polyester and nylon staple fibers. Bleached cotton was also used to produce an equivalent fabric for comparison. The research has shown that although the desired and perhaps critical properties of whiteness and absorbency of the selected fibers vary considerably among the various fabrics produced, blends of greige cotton lint with other fibers can provide the fabric whiteness and absorbency comparable to those of a, say, bleached cotton fabric. The research suggests that greige cotton lint and co-products in blend with polyester fiber may be a sensible approach to the development of acceptable nonwoven wiping products.