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Chapter 20

Chapter 20

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Published by: Shujaat Hussain Kharmangi on May 27, 2011
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63
 
SPECIAL CHEMICAL FINISHES
20.1 INTRODUCTION
This chapter deals with finishes of the cellulosic fabrics for certain specific
end uses like water-repellency, flame-retardancy and mildew and rot-
 proofing. Such chemical treatments are mostly applied to the materialsrequired for commercial, industrial and military uses. However there arenotable exceptions to this generalised statement where these treatments areused for apparel and household linen such as flame-retardancy of garmentsand bed-wear for children and waterproofing of raincoats.Like other finishes, the water-repellent and the flame-retardant finishes areundergoing constant changes not only for improved results but also inconsideration of the ecological effects, ease in application and the last butnot the least, the ultimate cost. A relatively greater stress for improvementhas recently been on the fire-retardant finishes because these involve safetyof human lives. The old and the new finishes on these two subjects, bothtemporary and permanent, are described below.
20.2 WATER- REPELLENCY AND WATER- PROOFING
In the past different terms were used to express the state of hydrophobicityof a textile material and degree of effectiveness of a particular product.Multiplicity of such terms was confusing especially when these were not based on any precise and standard testing procedures. However with passageof time all the hydrophobic treatments have been gradually classified intotwo main groups termed as water-repellent and waterproofing finishes thatare expressed with fairly well defined characteristics. The term ‘water-repellent’ expresses a degree of resistance of a fabric to surface wetting,water penetration, water absorption or any combination of these properties but its assessment is dependent upon the test conditions used. In general, thewater-repellent finishes are resistant to wetting and wicking by rain drops but are permeable to air and also a little to the water vapours.Waterproofing normally represents the condition where a textile material can prevent absorption and penetration of water to its structure. Thus thewaterproof surface provides a barrier to water under all end-use conditions.
CHAPTER 19
 
64However in practice a waterproof fabric is generally required to allow no penetration by water below a hydrostatic pressure of 100 cm (10 Kpa).Waterproofing is achieved by coating the fabric with a solid polymer likeneoprene (synthetic rubber), polyvinyl chloride or polyurethane. Being non- breathable, the waterproof fabrics are uncomfortable to wear because the perspiration of the user is not permeated and dried due to nonporous natureof the material. The coated materials are therefore mainly used focommercial and industrial purposes.
20.3 CONDITRIONS FOR HIGH WATER-REPELLENCY FOFABRICS
High levels of water-repellency on fabrics depend
 
upon thefollowing factors.1.Fineness of yarn and close packing of textile structure.2.A thoroughly prepared fabric surface that is free from impurities likesize or surfactants that have rewetting properties. Removal of impurities helps in bringing the repellent chemicals in close contactwith the fabric surface. Shearing and singeing of the fabrics alsoserves the same purpose.3.Uniform application of the repellent-finish to provide a low-energysurface that has a lower critical surface tension than the surfacetension values of water (and other liquids against which the repellentfinish is required).
20.4 CHEMICAL NATURE OF WATER-REPELLENT FINISHES
The water-repellent chemicals for the textile materials, as developed over theyears, are of a very diverse nature. The more important of these arementioned below although only a few of these are used for the protein andthe synthetic fibres.
20.4.1
 
Metal salts like Aluminium Acetate (CH
3
COO)
3
Al:
This is one of the earliest compound used to impart water-repellency to cotton canvasfabrics. Its application consists in padding or treating the fabric with asolution of 5-9
0
Tw. aluminium acetate or formate, followed by drying.During drying, the aluminium salt is converted into water-insolublealuminium oxide (Al
2
O
3
) to make the fabric water-repellent. The main problem with the finish is its tendency to dust off the fabric and so this led to
CHAPTER 20
 
65an improved method of depositing another aluminium compound that isusually called, a technically incorrect name, the aluminium soap.
20.4.2 Soap and Metal Salts:
In this method water-repellency is achieved by depositing, inside the fabric interstices, insoluble and hydrophobicaluminium soaps that are produced by reacting soaps with solublealuminium salts. The double-decomposition reaction may be represented asunder:3 C
17
H
35
COONa + (CH
3
COO)
3
Al → (C
17
H
35
COO)
3
Al + 3 CH
3
COONaThe treatment may be carried out in a jigger or a winch but use of a padder is preferred because it is more productive. The well-prepared cotton fabric isimpregnated with 2-5% soap solution at 60
0
C, dried, and then padded againin 5-9
0
Tw aluminium acetate solution. The fabric is next rinsed to removesodium acetate formed during the reaction and then dried at a hightemperature for proper penetration of the metal soap (aluminium stearate)into the fibres and the fabric interstices.To simplify the two-stage procedure, the fabric may be padded, using asturdy padder, in a viscous solution of pre-prepared aluminium stearate[(C
17
H
35
COO)
3
Al] in the white oil. Alternatively, the fabric can be padded inthe molten aluminium soap. This method is generally confined to preparingheavy waterproof canvas fabric required to cover equipment lying in theopen or for tents and awnings. Usually 0.5% of a copper salt, commonlycopper nepthenate is added for protection against microorganisms (rot proofing). Sometimes mineral wax is also added to the stearate to make thewaterproofing still more effective.
20.4.3 Wax Applications:
Different mineral and natural waxes have beenused for the water-repellent finishes but these are now being replaced withthe chemically more complicated and also the fibre-reactive compounds thatyield more lasting finish. The waxes commonly used are, a) mineral wax(alkanes-melting point 52-56
0
C), b) beeswax C
15
H
31
COOC
30
H
61
, (m. pt. 62-65
0
C) and c) Carnauba wax C
25
H
51
COOC
30
H
61
, (m. pt. 83-86
0
C). The waxesare applied by different methods as mentioned below.
CHAPTER 20

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