Location: Cotton Chemistry and Utilization ResearchTitle: Optimized hydroentanglement processing parameters for nonwoven fabrics composed entirely of cotton fibers
Submitted to: Journal of Engineered Fibers and Fabrics
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/23/2020
Publication Date: 7/13/2020
Citation: Hron, R.J., Hinchliffe, D.J., Condon, B.D. 2020. Optimized hydroentanglement processing parameters for nonwoven fabrics composed entirely of cotton fibers. Journal of Engineered Fibers and Fabrics. 15:1-11. https://doi.org/10.1177/1558925020935436.
Interpretive Summary: The nonwovens industry occupies a growing share of the global textile market. Unfortunately most nonwovens utilize synthetic fibers such as polyester and polypropylene, which pose serious environmental and toxicological consequences. Greige cotton nonwovens present a viable alternative to hydrocarbon based materials and are inherently biodegradable as well as sustainable. Additionally, greige cotton nonwovens may be produced by hydroentanglement, which utilizes high pressure streams of water to produce fabric, eliminating the need for hazardous chemicals. Preliminary work has shown that hydroentanglement parameters may be manipulated to produce nonwovens with a variety of desired characteristics. Therefore we were interested to observe the effect of jet strip configuration on the absorbency as well as the physical and mechanical properties of the produced fabrics. Jet strip configurations varied in terms of orifice diameter and the number of orifices per inch at various bonding pressures. Utilizing these parameters, a selection of nonwoven greige cotton fabrics with a wide variety of absorbencies and tensile strengths were produced. It was found that bonding pressure, as opposed to jet strip configuration, potentially plays the greatest role in the determination of nonwoven performance properties. These findings indicate that greige cotton nonwovens may be tailored to suit an array of applications through the manipulation of hydroentanglement parameters, most notably, bonding pressure.
Technical Abstract: A study was conducted on a commercial grade hydro-entanglement system to assess the effects of jet strip configuration in terms of both orifice diameter (0.10 mm, 0.12 mm, 0.14 mm) as well as the number of orifices per inch (40, 50) on the properties of resultant nonwoven cotton fabrics at various hydroentanglement pressures (0, 5.0, 7.5, 10.0, 12.5, 14.0 MPa). It was found that an increase in the energy applied to the fabric web resulted in a nonwoven with increased absorbency. The results of air permeability testing indicate that a combination of variations in the orifice diameter and the number of orifices per inch as well as the energy applied determine the overall air permeability of the fabric. Tensile testing revealed that increasing the energy applied to the fabric resulted in increased strength in both the machine and cross directions and decreased elongations. These results indicate that the mechanical and performance characteristics of nonwoven cotton fabrics produced by hydroentanglement may be manipulated to obtain desired characteristics for the targeted end-use application.