Submitted to: Textile Research Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/15/2015
Publication Date: 1/5/2016
Citation: Sawhney, A.P., Reynolds, M.L., Allen Jr, H.C., Slopek, R.P., Condon, B.D. 2016. Progressive and cumulative fabric effects of multiple hydroentangling impacts at different water pressures on greige cotton substrate. Textile Research Journal. 86(2):145-154.
Interpretive Summary: The United States is the 3rd largest producer of cotton and by far the largest consumer of textiles in the world. However, due to some viable reasons, the domestic use or consumption of the U.S. cotton has considerably dwindled from approximately 15 million bales to only approximately 4 million bales a year during the past few decades, even though the U.S. annual production of cotton today still is approxiamtely 15 million bales. Thanks to our, thus far, efficient and profitable cotton exports to other countries. However, in order to revive and possibly expand the domestic utilization of cotton, the National Program Leaders of the Agricultural Research Service, USDA, have directed research towards the development of non-traditional textiles that commonly are known as nonwoven or technical fabrics. The hydroentangling system of producing nonwoven fabrics is the most productive, commercially available system today. The present study was conducted on a commercial grade hydroentangling system to determine the feasibility and optimum metrics (viz., the number of hydro passes or impacts at different hydroentangling water pressure) of processing especially greige (raw) cotton. The results of the study have shown that each successive hydro pass (impact) of the cotton feed material, at the each elevated water pressure investigated, had resulted in decreased fabric thickness, improved whiteness, decreased air permeability, and an appreciable increase in water absorbency. The tensile properties of the fabrics, in both the machine direction (MD) and the cross direction (CD), increased progressively with each successive hydro-impact at the low water pressure of 65 bars, but this trend, especially in the CD, was less significant with the increased water pressures of 90 bars and 130 bars. Generally, the two or more passes of the in-process material at 65-bar water pressure yielded reasonably satisfactory fabric test results with reduced energy consumption, compared to the one or more passes at the 130-bar water pressure.
Technical Abstract: A practical study was conducted to determine the effects of the hydroentangling jet strip’s orifice size and the hydroentangling water pressure on the energy expended and the properties of the resulting nonwoven fabrics produced on a commercial-grade hydro-entanglement (HE) system, using greige cotton lint fibers. Five strips of different orifice sizes, viz., 0.10, 0.12, 0.14, 0.16 and 0.18 mm in diameter, and ten different hydroentangling water pressures, e.g., 50, 60, 75, 80, 93, 100, 125, 150, 175 and 200 bars, were investigated. As expected, the maximum attainable hydroentangling water pressure varied with the strip’s orifice size. It was the highest (200+ bars) with the smallest orifice size (0.10 mm/100 microns dia.) and the lowest (only 50 bars) with the coarsest (0.18 mm dia.) orifice. In this particular study, the smallest orifice at a given water pressure was found to be the most energy-efficient in converting the given greige cotton fibers into a nonwoven fabric. The increasing water pressure with all the strips of different-size orifices increased the energy requirement. Furthermore, when using the strips of 0.10 mm and 0.14 mm diameter orifices, the highest water pressures attained therewith also produced fabrics with the highest hydro-absorbency attributes. This was mainly due to the least amount of the fiber’s native (hexane-extractable) hydrophobic waxes that were detected in the resulting fabrics. Also, the increasing water pressures with almost all the strips generally produced fabrics of progressively increased tensile strength in both the machine direction (MD) and the cross direction (CD), although no significant impact on the fabrics’ bursting strength was observed under those process conditions.