Physical properties of wool fibers modified with isocyanate compounds



Wool fibers were chemically modified with various kinds of isocyanates and diisocyanates. The reactivity of these modifying agents was examined as a function of the reaction solvent, temperature, time, and isocyanate chemistry. The use of dimethyl sulfoxide as the solvent, aliphatic mono and bifunctional isocyanates, such as dodecyl isocyanates and hexamethylene diisocyanate, and a temperature of 75°C resulted in higher weight gains. The moisture content of wool fibers tended to decrease with increasing the weight gain, the extent of which depended on the isocyanate used. Monofunctional isocyanates caused a sharp drop of tensile strength and an increase of elongation at break, while bifunctional isocyanates preserved the intrinsic tensile properties of wool. The FTIR spectra showed changes in the amide I, II, and III ranges, in the CO stretching range at 1750–1700 cm−1, and in the CH stretching and bending regions at 3000–2800 and 1500–1350 cm−1, respectively, attributable to the incorporation of the modifying agent. DSC measurements highlighted remarkable changes in the thermal behavior of acylated wool fibers. The bimodal melting endotherm at 230–240°C shifted to lower temperature, and the relative intensity of the constituent peaks changed as a function of the weight gain. Foreign deposits adhering to the surface of chemically modified wool fibers were detected by SEM analysis. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 89: 1390–1396, 2003