Submitted to: Textile Research Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/15/2018
Publication Date: 5/1/2019
Citation: Villalpando, A., Easson, M., Cheng, H.N., Condon, B. 2019. Use of cottonseed protein as a strength additive for nonwoven cotton. Textile Research Journal. 89(9):1725-1733. https://doi.org/10.1177/0040517518779252.
Interpretive Summary: Nonwoven fabrics have gained a lot of attention in recent years because of their versatility, flexibility, and ease of production. They comprise sheet or web structures that are chemically, mechanically or thermally bonded together. Recycled fiber can sometimes be reused, and many non-woven fabrics can be recycled; thus, they can be regarded as more environmentally friendly, particularly for disposal applications, such as diapers, personal hygiene products, wipes, tissues, lab coats, and gloves. However, in many applications the strength of the fabric remains an issue. Better bonding methods and improved materials to bond the fabric would be highly desirable. The United States is the world’s third largest producer of cotton; therefore it is of interest to increase the consumption of cotton and cotton processing byproducts for further applications. The use of cotton fibers for nonwovens is certainly a trend in the right direction. In addition, cottonseed meal, a byproduct of cotton, is currently used in mostly low-value applications such as animal feedstock and fertilizers. Cottonseed protein, derived from cottonseed meal, contains interesting adhesive properties and has been shown to be useful as a wood adhesive. This work considered the feasibility of the use of cottonseed protein as a polymeric additive and potential binder for nonwovens made from cotton fiber. The resulting material (non-woven plus additive) is a “green” product because it is derived entirely from agro-based raw materials and is eco-friendly, sustainable, and biodegradable.
Technical Abstract: Nonwoven fabrics have grown in popularity in recent years due to their overwhelming usage in a wide range of products. Cotton-based nonwovens are of particular interest because of their ability to be recycled and reused, resulting in a more environmentally friendly product compared to their petroleum-based counterparts. This research characterized the use of cottonseed protein as an additive and a potential binder to increase the dry strength of cotton-based nonwovens. The tensile strength of nonwovens was found to increase as the concentration of protein applied increased. At 11% protein concentration, the tear strength and burst strength increased significantly (relative to the nonwoven control) by 288% (machine direction) and 295%, respectively. Further characterization by TGA, IR, and SEM suggested that cottonseed protein interacted with the cotton fiber in the nonwoven fabric resulting in increased dry strength.