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Improving the hydrophilic properties of wool fabrics via corona discharge and hydrogen peroxide treatment



Corona discharge has been widely applied to modify the surfaces of polymers. In this study, corona discharge was combined with a hydrogen peroxide treatment to improve the hydrophilic properties of wool fabric. Scanning electron microscopy photographs showed that the tip of wool scales was etched after corona discharge and that parts of the scales were peeled off after the hydrogen peroxide treatment. The surface hydrophilic properties of the wool fabric were improved greatly by corona discharge. Increases in the discharge voltage and the number of treatment passages enhanced the hydrophilic properties dramatically, but the improved properties deteriorated with increases in the number of washing cycles and storage time. The hydrogen peroxide treatment could improve the hydrophilic properties and especially the wicking properties of the wool fabric. The fabric became weaker and flexible with an average weight loss of 3% after the hydrogen peroxide treatment. A combination of corona discharge treatment and the hydrogen peroxide treatment made the wool fabric absolutely hydrophilic; the water penetration time of the treated fabric was less than 1 s even when the fabric was washed for several cycles or stored for 6 months. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2009

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