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Lycra Notes

Lycra Notes

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Published by cgondliya

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Published by: cgondliya on Nov 06, 2011
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INTRODUCTION TO LYCRA YARNLYCRA is a registered trademark used for DUPONT¶s elastane fibres.Elastane is a generic term, like polyamide or polyester. It defines a manmadefibre in which the fibre-forming substance is a synthetic chain polymer containing at least 85% segmented polyurethane. LYCRA elastane yarn hasoutstanding elastic properties ± very high stretch and recovery as well ashigh power at stretch (modulus). Its other important characteristics includegood abrasion resistance, long wear life, strength, long flex life, resistance todaylight, to weathering, to mildew and to most chemicals. In addition,LYCRA is white or transparent in its natural state, and it can bedyed. LYCRA added to fabrics of non-elastic or ³hard´ yarns gives themstretch and recovery from stretch. This property makes them eminentlysuitable for a wide range of garments, an advantage which is recognized bythe garment users, assuring the success of LYCRA with knitters, weaversand cutters. LYCRA in the stretch fabric is knitted or woven under tension.When relaxed, it trends to compact the fabric length and width to a ³jam point´. The ³hard´ fibre buckles when the fabric is³jammed´, and it limits theextension of the fabric when it is being stretched. Elastic fabrics are veryoften required wider and lighter than their width and weight at ³Jam point´.To ensure complete control of the desired physical changes, the processor must first determine the parameters of the ³jammed´ (fully relaxed) fabric,namely narrowest width,highest weight,corresponding wale and course or end and pick counts,greatest shrinkage and stretch in length and width. For this purpose a markedgrey sample is boiled for 10-15 minutes, then it is dried relaxed, andmeasured. This check is especially important for the development of newfabric styles. Fabrics containing LYCRA elastane yarn require carefulcontrol of processing conditions top reserve the intrinsic elastic properties of the fibre, while obtaining the required fabric characteristics. These dyeingand finishing conditions should be chosen with care, because the performance of LYCRA elastane can be changed by prolonged hot/wettreatments, certain chemicals, excessive tension and high temperature. It is,therefore, necessary to be fully aware of the physical changes required todevelop the desired weight, width, stability and stretch. Tension,temperature, concentration of process chemicals and the duration of treatments must be kept to a minimum, because they affect the elastic properties and the appearance of the finished goods. In particulars, thetension must be kept to a minimum during those steps which are carried out
at elevated temperatures, i.e. relaxation, hot wet processing, drying andcuring. Although the use of high temperatures and tensions does not degradeLYCRA, fabrics containing it lose some power when they are hot ±stretched and this loss cannot be recovered.
Storage of Grey Fabrics
Most off-loom fabrics stay for some time in the grey room prior to wet processing. Storage conditions and the handling of greys affect heir quality.Good storage can help, while bad storage can reduce the quality of thefinished fabric. Grey goods are doffed either in batches or in pieces andthese are sent to the grey room. Stacking is undesirable, because :It will obstruct handling of bottom pieces that were stored first,the weight and pressure of the stack can use undesired moiré, folds or creases. It is best to keep the rolls of grey suspended horizontally, one beone, on metal axle-tubes. Light pieces can be stored individually in boxes. Storage of grey fabrics must be short to prevent yellowing or decayof LYCRA elastane by hard yarn finish or machine lubricants that mightcontain unsaturated fatty acids or fatty esters. The knitter, weaver, fibresupplier or coning oil producer should make sure by tests that the lubricantsused do not discolour or degrade LYCRA during the normal course of  processing. Before grey goods are put in stock for an extended period, theyshould be relaxed, thoroughly scoured and batched up again at controlledlow tension (10-20% stretch over relaxed fabric) in order to remove thewinding tension which might cold-set the grey fabric, and to prevent pleatsand creases from setting and becoming permanent. If lag time is expected between operations, the fabric should be wrapped airtight, chemically inertcovers, ideally black, to protect it from discoloration. This discolorationmostly affects batch edges and the external upper layers of unprotectedfabric. Finally, it is recommended to avoid storage of grey fabrics for morethan two months and total ways dispatch the oldest fabric first, so that thefirst fabrics into the grey room are first out to the dye house.
Chemical Resistance
LYCRA elastane yarn withstands most of the conditions required for wet processing the other fibres with which it may be combined. However elastane fibres may be sensitive to certain chemicals used for rigidfabrics. LYCRA keeps its elastic properties almost intact when subjected tomercerizing, to carbonizing, to alkaline sourcing at 95O*C, to dyeing instrongly acid baths, to peroxide bleaching, to weak hypochlorite bleaching,to dry cleaning. One type of LYCRA elastane, i.e. LYCRA type 128C,reacts
differently to certain of these agents, as reported in Technical InformationBulletin L-515.Fabrics containing LYCRA are sensitive to unsaturated oils, greases, fattyacids and their derivatives, which tend to discolour and to degrade elataneyarns. Such compounds sometimes serve as lubricants for hard fibres andthey vary from one yarn producer to another. Pine oil, use din printingcutting or barding, can also affect stretch fabrics. It is essential to make surethat these lubricants, if present, will not discolour or degrade LYCRA duringthe usual course of processing. Greys containing LYCRA which needstorage for an extended period of time should be thoroughly scoured anddried to prevent any discoloration or degradation by an unsaturated finish.Further, the fabrics should be protected from any contact with grease during processing. In general, the duration of treatments and the concentration of chemicals applied in the wet process should not exceed the minimumnecessary to attain the best performance of the treated goods. The durationand concentration of bleaching baths, the duration and pH of dye baths, theduration of solvent scouring, the treatments which involve caustic soda or acids, the selection of carriers for LYCRA/polyester dyeing, as well as resincuring catalysts and conditions, need particular attention. Fumes and other atmospheric pollutants may decrease the initial whiteness of fabricscontaining LYCRA. Long exposure to ultraviolet light has a similar effect.This discoloration occurs more quickly in some localities than in others, because air pollution and climate vary widely. Such yellowing does not alter the wear performance of LYCRA, but fabrics or displayed garments maylose their customer appeal. During storage all fabrics and garments should be wrapped in chemically inert,airtight packing in order to prevent this effect
Process Steps
Selection of a particular processing route depends on the desired appearance,the required performance of the fabric in use and on fabric composition.Stretch textiles include a large variety of fabrics, each with their particular features, and it is impossible to advise one general process route for all of them. A standard discontinuous process suitable for most stretch fabricscomprises :RelaxationHeat ± SettingScouringBleaching / Dyeing / PrintingFinishing

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