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FEBRUARY 2005 129

Properties of Three-Thread Fleece Fabrics
Technical University of Istanbul, Department of Textile Engineering, Istanbul, Turkey

This study investigates the effect of course length and washing processes on the
physical characteristics and shrinkage behavior of three-thread fleece fabrics. Three
groups of fabrics in five different course length ranges are produced, and their areal
density, fabric thickness, pilling, and abrasion resistance are measured in accordance with
the relevant ISO and British Standards. The dimensional changes of the samples in both
width- and length-wise directions, together with skewness (%), are also measured after
washing and tumble-drying cycles. The experimental results are evaluated with the SPSS
statistical program.

In the past decades, depending on fashion trends, the the highest temperature setting until dry. Following the
production range of knitted goods has been expanded first tumble-dry cycle, the load was returned to the wash-
with new fabric designs as well as new fibers and their ing machine and, using the rinse-only cycle (including a
blends. Although the dimensional behavior of some stan- final spin at 800 rpm for 4 minutes), it was thoroughly
dard weft knitted structures, such as plain jersey, inter- re-wetted. Afterwards, the fabrics were tumble-dried for
lock, two-thread fleece, and double and single pique has the same length of time as before. The previous step was
been investigated in various combinations [1–24], a lit- repeated three more times. After completion of the five
erature survey reveals almost no work on the properties cycles, the test specimens were conditioned in a standard
of three-thread fleece fabrics. atmosphere until they reached equilibrium.
Accordingly, we have conducted a comprehensive After the laundering process, areal density, pilling,
study to investigate the fiber and yarn properties as well bursting strength, and abrasion resistance were measured
as laundry conditions on the dimensional behavior of
in accordance with the following standards: areal den-
such fabrics. This paper presents the preliminary results
sity—ISO 3801, abrasion resistance–BS 5690, bursting
of this on-going project, which have been evaluated
strength—ISO 2960, and ICI pilling—BS 5811. The
according to a MANOVA analysis using the SPSS statistical
dimensional changes of the samples in both width- and
program. We intend to underline the main variables
affecting some physical and dimensional properties of length-wise directions, together with skewness (%), were
three-thread fleece fabrics. also measured after each washing and tumble-drying
Wale and course density were measured as explained
Materials and Method in our previous works [7–9, 20, 22]. Mean values of
courses/cm and wales/cm were then calculated, and the
For the work, three groups of fabric samples were
product of these means was used to determine the stitch
knitted on a 90-feed, 28-cut single jersey circular knitting
densities of the samples.
machine, 30” in diameter, using yarns of different fiber
compositions. Detailed information about the samples is In order to evaluate the resistance of the samples to
given in Table I. All samples were then subjected to a abrasion, the fabrics were subjected to 20,000 rubs, and
relaxation treatment comprising five washing and tum- for comparison reasons, the percent weight losses of the
ble-drying cycles, similar to the process suggested by the samples were calculated at the end of each test cycle.
Starfish project [25]. The results were treated statistically with the help of
The samples were placed in the washing machine, multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) tables to
paying particular attention to loading, the recommended indicate the significance of the effect of course length
amount of washing powder was added to the dispenser, range and washing processes on fabric properties. Re-
and the machine was set to wash at 60°C with a long spin gression analysis was used to show the significance of
(e.g., final spin at 800 rpm for 4 minutes). Upon com- the relations (significant at a level ⬍ 0.05 and highly
pletion of the wash cycle, the load was tumble-dried at significant at a level ⬍ 0.01).

Textile Res. J. 75(2), 129 –133 (2005) 0040-5175/$15.00

TABLE I. Details of the samples.

Samples Course length ranges Yarn types

First group 1.820–713–290 face yarn: Ne30/1 cotton-polyester (67/33), carded
2.840–730–290 tie-in yarn: Ne30/1 cotton-polyester (67/33), carded
3.850–750–290 fleece yarn: 10/1 cotton, open-end
4.864–755–290 ␣e ⫽ 3.75 (for all yarns)
Second group 1.765–645–290 face yarn: Ne30/1 cotton, combed, ␣e ⫽ 3.60
2.786–660–290 tie-in yarn: 30/1 cotton, carded, ␣e ⫽ 3.75
3.810–680–290 fleece yarn: 10/1 cotton, carded, ␣e ⫽ 3.75
Third group 1.805–670–290 face yarn: 30/1 cotton, combed, ␣e ⫽ 3.60
2.825–700–290 tie-in yarn: 30/1 cotton-polyester (50/50), carded, ␣e ⫽ 3.75
3.840–720–290 fleece yarn: 10/1 cotton, open-end, ␣e ⫽ 3.75

Results and Discussion ing strength (F ⫽ 161.57, Sig. ⬍ 0.001). These dimen-
sions increase dramatically after laundering and tumble-
FIRST GROUP OF FABRICS drying for five cycles. Figure 3 shows the effect of full
Although the MANOVA results indicate that the course relaxation on bursting strength of the second group of
length ranges can have a significant effect on areal, fabrics.
course, and stitch density of the fabrics (F ⬎ 25 and Sig.
⬍ 0.001), the polynomial regression analysis does not
give an exact relation between CL (course length) and the
relevant fabric properties for this group. The results of
the linear regression analysis for laundering and tumble-
drying for five cycles show that washing has a significant
effect on areal, wale, course, and stitch densities as well
as fabric bursting strength.
Weight per unit area (areal density), wale, course, and
stitch densities and bursting strength increase consider-
ably after laundering and tumble drying (Figure 1). The
greatest areal, wale, and course densities are obtained for
fully relaxed samples.
Depending on the number of relaxation processes, the
dimensional changes in length %(⫺) (F ⫽ 6.81, Sig.
⫽ 0.001), and width %(⫺) (F ⫽ 15.61, Sig. ⬍ 0.001),
together with skewness percentages (F ⫽ 6.81, Sig.
⬍ 0.001), are quite small, though they are statistically

The polynomial regression analysis indicates that for
this group, the effect of CL range on course density (F
⫽ 38.24, Sig. ⬍ 0.001) of the three-thread fabrics is
much more significant than on other fabric properties. An
increase in the CL range of the fabrics causes the course
density to decrease considerably (see Figure 2). On the
other hand, the full relaxation process has a very marked
and significant effect on areal (F ⫽ 219.69, Sig.
⬍ 0.001), wale (F ⫽ 172.74, Sig. ⬍ 0.001), and stitch FIGURE 1. Effect of five washing cycles on areal density and
densities (F ⫽ 59.97, Sig. ⬍ 0.001) and on fabric burst- bursting strength of the first group of fabrics
FEBRUARY 2005 131

FIGURE 2. Effect of CL range on course density of the
second group of fabrics.

FIGURE 4. Effect of CL range on dimensional stability
of the second group of fabrics.

FIGURE 3. Effect of five washing cycles on bursting strength
of the second group of fabrics.
(R2 ⫽ %64.0, F ⫽ 26, Sig. ⬍ 0.001) from 15.2 to 12.4
(see Figure 5). There is no significant change in areal,
The statistical evaluation implies that the CL range has wale, and stitch densities or in bursting strength of the
a more significant effect on the dimensional changes of fabrics with the CL level.
the fabrics compared to each and every cycle of the Full relaxation has a significant effect on areal (F
relaxation process. An increase in course length range ⫽ 379.91, Sig. ⬍ 0.001), wale (F ⫽ 172.23, Sig.
causes widthwise shrinkage, but it causes lengthwise ⬍ 0.001) and stitch densities (F ⫽ 34.01, Sig. ⬍ 0.001)
extension. The lowest values are obtained for the 815– and on fabric bursting strength (F ⫽ 104.53, Sig.
700 –290 course length range. Both the number of wash- ⬍ 0.001) but there is no similar relation for course
ing cycles and the CL ranges for this group have only a density. Figure 6 shows the effect of full relaxation on
modest effect on fabric skewness. Figure 4 shows effect
the bursting strength of the third group of fabrics.
of CL range on the dimensional stability of the fabrics.
Our polynomial regression analysis shows that neither
increases in the course lengths of the yarns (face and
tie-in) nor the progress of the relaxation treatment has a
These fabrics behave in the same manner as the sec- marked effect on the dimensional stability, including the
ond group. Course density decreases with the CL range skewness, of the third fabric group.

A close examination of the abrasion behavior of the
fabrics shows that the effect of relaxation is much more
significant than the course length ranges selected for the
samples, such that for each group, fully relaxed fabric
samples have lower weight loss percentages. When the
resistance of the fabrics to pilling is graded, it is the
second group that shows the highest resistance, followed
by the third and first groups. The abrasion resistance and
pilling tests of the fabrics are shown in Table II.

The purpose of this research is to discuss the prelim-
inary results of our on-going project on the dimensional
behavior of three-thread fleece fabrics. We have under-
lined the main variables affecting some physical and
FIGURE 5. Effect of CL range on course density of the dimensional properties of these fabrics. Our results from
third group of fabrics. the first step of the project show that course length range
can be a very important production parameter, affecting
both the physical and dimensional properties of the fab-
In general, changes in course length for each group
have an effect on the dimensional properties of the rel-
evant fabric samples. However, our results indicate that
the course length ranges selected for such work are quite
important and should be as wide as possible so that their
effect on fabric dimensional properties can be observed
much more clearly. The relaxation treatment has a
greater influence on both the physical and dimensional
properties of the fabrics, when compared to the effect of
changes in course lengths for each group.
Fabrics made from polyester-cotton yarns have lower
pilling rates and higher bursting strength values. Fiber
type also seems to have an effect on fabric dimensional
properties that is as important as the CL ranges close to
FIGURE 6. Effect of five washing cycles on bursting strength
of the third group of fabrics. each other: samples produced from polyester-cotton
yarns tend to have a higher shrinkage potential.

TABLE II. Abrasion resistance and pilling tests results of the fabrics.

First group of fabrics Second group of fabrics Third group of fabrics

Abrasion Abrasion Abrasion
CL range weight loss % Pilling ICI weight loss % Pilling ICI weight loss % Pilling ICI

Grey fabrics 1 2.4 3–4 5.4 4 8.3 4.5
2 1.6 4 10.4 4 8.3 3.4
3 1.56 3–4 5.4 4 7.8 3.4
4 3.3 3 7.8 4 6.25 3.4
5 1.8 4 4.9 4 8.1 4
Fully relaxed fabrics 1 0.7 3–4 2.4 4–5 1.9 4
2 1.6 3 4.6 4–5 2.2 4
3 1.1 4 4.6 4–5 1.1 4
4 2.5 3–4 4.7 4–5 2.8 3.4
5 1.9 3 4.8 4 1.9 3.4
FEBRUARY 2005 133

The information acquired in this research shows that Study of Properties of Lacoste Type Structures, Melliand
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