Effect of short thermal treatment on cotton degradation



Cotton fabric was subjected to thermal treatment for durations ranging from 0.5 to 5 min at a temperature range of 160°C. In comparison with the untreated cotton, the copper number (measure of the aldehyde content) decreased after heating cotton for up to 3 min at 160°, 180°, and 190°C but increased when heating was prolonged to 5 min. Thermal treatment at 200°C or above caused an appreciable increase in the copper number. The carboxyl content increased with time of heating, attained a maximum, and then fell down to reach values which in some cases were lower than that of untreated cotton. Thermal treatment at 180°C caused a substantial reduction in the D. P.; this reduction increased with time of treatment. At the other temperatures there was no significant decrease in D. P. when cotton was heated up to 3 min. The D. P. decreased in these cases only when the thermal treatment was conducted for 5 min. The tensile strength remained practically unimpaired after thermal treatment of the cotton for up to 2 min, regardless of the temperature used within the range studied. A loss in tensile strength of ca. 9% and 13% was observed with fabrics treated for 5 min at 160° and 180°C, respectively. This contrasts with a loss of ca. 4% at 190°C, 7% at 200°C, and 8% at 220°C. The highest dye exhaustion was obtained on cotton which was thermally treated at 180°C prior to dyeing, while the lowest dye exhaustion was obtained on cotton heated at 220°C. Thermal treatment at 160°C left the susceptibility of cotton toward the dyestuff practically unaltered.