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ARS Home » Southeast Area » New Orleans, Louisiana » Southern Regional Research Center » Cotton Chemistry and Utilization Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #336534

Research Project: Chemical Modification of Cotton for Value Added Applications

Location: Cotton Chemistry and Utilization Research

Title: Absorbent properties of carboxymethylated fiber, hydroentangled nonwoven and regenerated cellulose: a comparative study

item Easson, Michael
item Villalpando, Andres
item Condon, Brian

Submitted to: Journal of Engineered Fibers and Fabrics
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/10/2017
Publication Date: 12/4/2017
Citation: Easson, M.W., Villalpando, A., Condon, B.D. 2017. Absorbent properties of carboxymethylated fiber, hydroentangled nonwoven and regenerated cellulose: a comparative study. Journal of Engineered Fibers and Fabrics. 12(4):61-69.

Interpretive Summary: The cotton industry is increasing under pressure for market share from wood pulp regenerated cellulose for absorbent product applications. Rayon fibers manufactured from wood pulp cellulose are more absorbent than bleached cotton fibers, and this has led manufacturers to favor wood-sourced cellulose for absorbent applications such as feminine hygiene, adult incontinence and diaper products. Due to regenerated cellulose’s superior moisture absorbent properties, less material is required in the manufacturing of absorbent products, thus reducing material costs. In an effort to counter the inherit absorbent advantage of wood pulp sourced cellulose, the research reported herein focused on increasing the absorbance of cotton-based cellulose through chemical modification using commercially available monochloroacetic acid. The objective was to examine the processing limits of carboxymethylation in carding applications and to compare the absorbent properties of carboxymethylated fibers, hydroentangled nonwovens and regenerated wood pulp cellulose. Water retention values (WRV), degree of substitution, spectroscopic properties, and processability through conventional carding equipment were measured among six sources of cotton fibers, rayon fibers, and their hydroentangled equivalents. To the best of our knowledge, there are no previously published comparative studies on the processability of carboxymethylated cellulose sources.

Technical Abstract: Commercially-available, bleached cotton fibers, rayon, and their hydroentangled counterparts were carboxymethylated to produce cellulosic products with increased absorbency. These cellulose materials were tested for absorbance, spectroscopic properties, degree of substitution and carding ability. Carboxymethylated fibers and hydroentangled webs exhibited increased water retention as the degree of substitution increased before losing fiber integrity and carding ability.