Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Activated Peroxide for Enzymatic Control of Wool Shrinkage Part Ii: Wool and Other Fiber-Type Fabrics

Author
item Cardamone, Jeanette

Submitted to: Textile Research Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 16, 2005
Publication Date: February 1, 2006
Citation: Cardamone, J.M. 2006. Activated peroxide for enzymatic control of wool shrinkage part ii: wool and other fiber-type fabrics. Textile Research Journal. 76(2):109-115.

Interpretive Summary: There is a pressing need to provide the textile industry with a safe and effective method for controlling shrinkage in wool fabrics to replace environmentally unacceptable chlorination, which is used overseas. The two-step ARS process for whitening, biopolishing, and shrinkage prevention has been filed as a patent application for controlling the felting shrinkage of wool fabrics. There was a need to establish the effectiveness of the process on a variety of fabric compositions. Thus, the process was applied to a variety of wool fabrics as well as to acetate, cotton, nylon, polyester, viscose, and a wool blend with cotton. The first step of the ARS process conferred whiteness and machine washability to these fabrics without strength loss and without loss in elastic recovery and fabric weight. That step relies on a bath composition of dicyandiamide, gluconic acid, sodium hydroxide, and hydrogen peroxide, applied at 30°C for 30 minutes. When applied to wool, cotton, and viscose fabrics, sodium hydroxide alone followed by the second step, an enzyme treatment, controlled shrinkage in cotton, providing it with machine washability without strength loss. It conferred machine washability to wool and viscose but with strength losses and no improvement in whiteness. Only the full pretreatment bath followed by enzyme treatment provided the highest whiteness levels to wool, cotton, and viscose with strength retention and machine washability. The ARS process relying on activated peroxide for enzymatic pretreatment and subsequent enzymatic treatment provides the textile industry with an alternative to chlorine for effective, safe, and efficient shrinkage control.

Technical Abstract: There is a pressing need to provide the textile industry with a safe and effective method for controlling shrinkage in wool fabrics to replace chlorination that is used overseas on imported wool. The ARS process for whitening, biopolishing, and shrinkage prevention has been filed as a patent application for controlling the felting shrinkage of wool fabrics. It was investigated further by applying the process to wool fabrics of various constructions and fabric weights and to acetate, cotton, nylon, polyester, viscose, and to a wool blend with cotton and a wool blend with Aramid. Relaxation shrinkage due to relieved strain imparted during textile finishing and felting shrinkage due to loss in dimensional stability during washing both contribute to overall shrinkage. The ARS process is specific for controlling felting shrinkage and provides dimensional stability to machine washing and drying. It also confers high levels of whiteness without loss in elastic recovery while maintaining acceptable strength and fabric weight. The ARS process conferred whiteness and machine washability to acetate, cotton, nylon, viscose, and 62% wool/38% cotton blend fabrics without strength loss. To isolate the individual effects of the pretreatment bath containing dicyandiamide (DD) and gluconic acid (GA), alkaline (NaOH), and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), applied at pH 11.5, 30°C for 30 minutes, wool, cotton, and viscose were treated with these individual and combined components followed by enzyme treatment at pH 8-9, 45°C for 40 minutes. NaOH pretreatment alone followed by enzyme treatment conferred a mercerizing effect on cotton and the fabric was machine washable and without strength loss. It conferred machine washability to wool and viscose but with strength losses and no improvement in whiteness. Only the full pretreatment bath containing DD/GA/NaOH/H2O2 followed by enzyme treatment provided the highest whiteness levels to wool, cotton, and viscose with strength retention and machine washability. The ARS process relying on activated peroxide for enzymatic treatment provides the textile industry with a method for effective, safe, and efficient shrinkage control.

Last Modified: 10/25/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page