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Textile Research Journal Article

Torque in Worsted Wool Yarns
P. Mitchell, G. R. S. Naylor and D. G. Phillips1
Abstract A direct technique developed for CSIRO Textile and Fibre Technology, Belmont, Victoria
measuring yarn torque is explored for the case of 3216, Australia
worsted wool yarns. The technique balances the
torque in a yarn hank against a wire of known tor-
sional rigidity. It is shown that this technique gives
a reliable measure of the torque per strand inde-
pendent of the size of the hank. The torque per
strand was found to be linearly dependent on the
applied external tension and a finite torque exists
even at zero applied tension. This leads to the con-
cept of resolving the torque into two components,
(a) the torque due to the applied tension and (b)
the intrinsic torque that exists in the untensioned
yarn. The torque due to the applied tension does
not depend on the yarn history but only on yarn
geometric factors such as the yarn twist and lin-
ear density. By comparison the intrinsic torque
depends on factors such as the level of yarn set as
well as the twist and linear density. These compo-
nents of torque due to tension and intrinsic torque
are shown to be consistent with literature models
and lead to estimates of yarn specific volume, yarn
packing fraction and relative fiber relaxation mod-
uli after steaming.

Key words torque, yarn count, yarn twist, pack-
ing fraction, relaxation moduli

During yarn formation by ring spinning the fibers are bent either (i) cohesive1 or temporary if it can be removed by
into approximately helical shapes and an unbalanced cold water (20°C) or (ii) permanent if it remains after a wet
torque or twist-liveliness is created as a result of the fibres’ treatment at 70°C for 30 minutes [2]. These two types of set
attempt to straighten. One obvious manifestation of twist- can be linked to two molecular phenomena in the wool pro-
liveliness in singles yarn is snarling; a condition whereby the tein. Cohesive set is related to the glass transition tempera-
yarn attempts to relieve the unbalanced torque by wrapping ture [3], a moisture-dependent transition in the wool matrix
about itself. This undesirable yarn property makes handling material, whereas permanent set is related to the chemical
difficult and may cause problems in later processing. rearrangement of disulphide bonds in the wool protein [2].
Another important consequence of torque in knitting yarns Gentle steaming of a freshly twisted yarn raises the temper-
is the presence of spirality in plain knitted fabrics [1]. ature above the glass transition temperature and the stresses
Steaming the yarn can reduce the unbalanced torque or in the now rubbery matrix of the fiber relax and, on cooling
liveliness. Commercially, a steaming operation after spinning below the glass transition temperature, the yarn is stabi-
is commonly used, so that a yarn that is initially twist-lively
after spinning is stabilized. Different types of set have been
observed in wool and they can be usefully classified as Correponding author: e-mail:

Textile Research Journal Vol 76(2): 169–180 DOI: 10.1177/0040517506060909 © 2006 SAGE Publications
Figures 2, 5 appear in color online:
TRJ 170 Textile Research Journal 76(2)

lized because the cooled matrix becomes glassy and resists applied weight to 3 N. It is well known that the application
any residual strains from stressed disulphide bonds and of an axial load to a helical structure causes it to rotate
intermediate filaments. On reheating or wetting of the yarn, about its axis [9]; that is, a torque is developed. In the case
that is, above the glass transition temperature, the yarn again of a yarn, theoretical considerations indicate that this torque,
becomes twist lively due to the strained disulphide bonds and arising from external forces, dominates the total yarn
intermediate filaments. These strains are only reduced by torque under even moderate tensions [1, 10, 11].
disulphide interchange in the presence of reducing agents In this study we explored the approach of Tavanai et al.
or heat. Most commercial worsted yarn steaming opera- to measure the torque in singles wool worsted yarns includ-
tions primarily involve cohesive set and hence during subse- ing the effect of varying the applied external tension to the
quent wet processes such as washing or re-steaming, the hank. Torque measurements are presented for yarns both dry
cohesive set is released and yarn torque will reappear. [under normal laboratory conditions, approximately 65%
A practical solution to the problem of twist-liveliness is relative humidity (RH), 20°C] and wet. The measurement
the formation of a two-fold yarn. For a balanced yarn, the of wet yarns is of practical importance since with wetting,
two-fold twist level is chosen such that the torque created by the mechanical properties of wool fibers and yarns can
the ply structure is equal and opposite to the torque remain- change significantly [12, 13] and this influences the wet fin-
ing in the two individual strands. ishing behavior of knitwear.
Commonly the amount of torque in a yarn is not meas-
ured directly, but rather the degree of twist-liveliness is
estimated. Quantitative measurement can be achieved by Materials and Methods
either counting the number of turns that form in a length
of freely suspended yarn; or by measuring the distance All yarns used in this study were spun from the same
between the two ends of a length of yarn when snarling just untreated, undyed wool top (21.2 µm mean diameter, 65 mm
begins [4, 5]. Milosavljevic and Tadic [4] and Tao et al. [5] mean fiber length). After spinning the yarns were given
disagree as to which of these techniques is preferable. one of the following treatments: no steaming, steaming at
Although twist-liveliness is a commercially practical 85°C for 10 minutes, and steaming at 110°C (1.43 bar) for
quantity, yarn torque is a more basic concept and it is desira- 10 minutes. Yarn twist was measured using a Zweigle D312
ble to have a direct measure of this quantity. Steinberger twist tester in untwist/twist mode as specified in test method
[6], and later Morton and Permanyer [7], introduced a AS 2001.2.14 – 87. The reported twist results are the aver-
technique whereby the torque in a yarn is determined age of twelve measurements.
directly by measuring the torque in a calibrated torsion Following the approach of Tavanai et al., a torquemeter
wire used to counterbalance a twist-lively length of yarn. was constructed (see Figure 1) to directly measure the
There are, however, practical difficulties with this technique. torque in the hanks of yarn. An 800 mm (± 2 mm) length of
Firstly, the level of torque manifested by a single length of stainless steel piano wire, 0.23 mm in diameter, was sus-
yarn is generally small, thus requiring sensitive and often pended from a freely rotating protractor that could meas-
delicate measuring techniques. In addition, it is very diffi- ure the angular deflection of the upper end of the wire. A
cult to attach the ends of a length of twist-lively yarn to the bob of 120 g, with a pointer to locate the zero position, was
apparatus without altering the twist and therefore the attached to the lower end of the wire. Yarn hanks were cre-
torque. ated by initially wrapping yarn around a frame 1 m in cir-
Recently Tavanai et al. [8] extended the torquemeter cumference, removing the hank and tying the free ends
concept to the measurement of torque in a yarn hank. In this together. The hank was then placed in the torquemeter with
approach, a hank of yarn replaces the single strand used in its upper end attached to a hook below the center ring on
the earlier systems and the measurement is of the torque in the torquemeter. A tensioning mass was hung from the
the whole hank. Using false-twist textured, continuous fila- lower end of the hank and fitted into a slot to prevent rota-
ment, nylon yarns Tavanai et al. showed that the torque in a tion while still allowing the mass to hang freely. The distance
single strand could be obtained simply by dividing the meas- between the upper and lower ends of the hank, defined as
ured hank torque by the number of strands; that is, the the hank length is then 500 mm. Six different masses between
measured torque of the hank is proportional to the number 5 and 200 g were used for each trial in this study. For the
of strands in the hank. The technique allows a more precise measurement of wet hanks, a tube of water could be lifted
measurement of torque to be made, in compared with meas- to cover the lower half of the torquemeter and totally
urement of a single strand. The larger value for the hank immerse the hank. When the water tube was in place, the
reduces relative errors and also the hank measurement is change in the applied tension was corrected for the buoy-
sampling a longer total length of yarn. ancy forces on the tensioning mass.
One aspect that Tavanai et al. [8] did not examine was Torque generated in the yarn strands induced rotation
the influence of externally applied tension on the measure- of the upper end of the hank causing a torque in the tor-
ment of torque; instead they simply limited the maximum sion wire. At equilibrium, the torque in the wire was equal
Torque in Worsted Wool Yarns P. Mitchell et al. 171 TRJ

MH = MW = θ.S (1)

where θ is the angular deflection between the ends of the
wire (read from the protractor on the upper ring) and S is
the torque to produce unit angular displacement of the
wire [14]. With S known, the torque in the hank MH can
easily be found. The torque S is dependent on the torsional
rigidity of the wire JG and the length of the wire l accord-
ing to the equation [14]:

S = JG/l (2)

where G is the shear modulus of the wire and J is its
moment of inertia.
Tavanai et al. [8] determined the torsional rigidity directly
by applying a known torque to the wire. This was achieved by
using a weight suspended over a ceramic guide and attached
to the pointer, at a known distance from the wire, by a fine
line. In our experience, this approach proved to be unsatis-
factory due to friction in the pulley used as a guide and the
difficulty in maintaining the applied force at right angles to
the pointer. Instead, the torsional rigidity of the wire was
determined experimentally by using a torsion pendulum. A
bronze disc, 50.0 mm in diameter and 200.0 g in mass, was
suspended from a length of wire and allowed to oscillate
freely. The period of such a pendulum is given by [14]:

τ = 2π I ⁄ S = 2π lI ⁄ JG (3)

where I is the moment of inertia of the mass. Thus, from
the measured period and the length of the wire, the tor-
sional rigidity of the wire JG can be determined and hence,
the value of the torque S in equations (1) and (2). To deter-
mine the period τ the time for 50 oscillations was measured
for five trials and the mean value used.
The torque of all yarn samples was measured in both
normal ‘dry’ laboratory conditions (approximately 20°C and
65% RH) and wet (20°C in water). The hanks tested in water
were allowed to equilibrate for at least 30 minutes in a
beaker of water before transfer to the torquemeter. With the
water tube on the torquemeter in place these yarns were kept
wet throughout testing.

Figure 1 A schematic diagram of the torquemeter used
in this study. Results and Discussion
Evaluation of the Instrument and the
and opposite to the torque in the hank. To return the hank Technique
in its original straight configuration, the upper ring was
rotated until the bob and pointer were returned to their Calibration
original positions. Then the torque or torsional moment in Using the approach described in the previous method sec-
the untwisted hank, MH, equals the torque in the torsion wire, tion, the period of a torsional pendulum was used to char-
MW and this is given by: acterize the torsional properties of the wire. The average
TRJ 172 Textile Research Journal 76(2)

Table 1 Angular deflection in degrees for torque trials using: (A) ten separate hanks and (B) ten repeated trials on a single
hank, each with ten strands.
Measurements on dry hanks Measurements on wet hanks
Applied tension (mN) 1946 976.0 490.6 198.3 98.8 48.4 1718 861.1 434.3 176.3 87.9 43.7
Mean (A) 217.6 117.6 75.2 49 40.7 35.1 231 142.6 105.1 82.5 74.8 69.5
Standard deviation 9.90 4.22 3.08 2.54 2.26 2.13 9.03 8.13 8.18 5.28 4.92 4.14
Mean (B) 211.5 115.6 73.3 47.6 38.5 33.5 197.4 121.5 88.4 69.5 62.9 58.1
Standard deviation 5.28 1.58 1.16 1.65 1.43 1.08 14.98 7.12 6.42 5.36 4.98 4.15

period was found to be 11.70 ± 0.009 s for a 990 ± 2 mm measured once, these relaxation effects are not significant
pendulum. This length of wire included the 800 mm section in the rest of this study.
subsequently used in the torquemeter. The moment of To test that the sensitivity and reproducibility are not
inertia of the rotating mass was (62.49 ± 0.03) × 10–6 kg m2 dependent on a particular hank size, the same exercise
which, using equation (3), gives a value of (17.83 ± 0.07) × (i.e. Table 1 data) was repeated with hanks from the same
10–6 N.m2 for JG. For the torquemeter l = 800 mm and, from yarn but containing four strands each. Similar results were
equation (2), the torque value S is (22.28 ± 0.14) µN.m/rad. achieved.
At the end of the experiments reported in this paper (about
5 months after the initial calibration) the torsional rigidity Properties of the Torque per Strand
of the 800 mm length of wire used throughout was re-meas-
Figure 2 shows the measured deflection as a function of
ured. The measured value (17.82 ± 0.07 µN.m2) indicated
tensioning weight for ten different hank sizes (10, 20, 30 etc,
that there had been no significant change in the properties
up to 100 strands per hank) using an unsteamed 76 tex yarn
of the wire during the course of the experiments.
with a metric twist factor of 81 tested dry about 10 months
after spinning. It can be seen that, for each hank size, the
Sensitivity and Reproducibility relationship is close to linear. For a given absolute tensioning
To test the sensitivity and reproducibility of the torqueme- weight, the deflection increases as the number of strands in
ter, trials were made on ten identical hanks. Each of these the hank increases.
hanks consisted of ten strands (five wraps) of 81 tex yarn When these results are plotted as the torque per strand
with a metric twist factor of 142 previously steamed at 85°C as a function of the tension per strand, all data points in
for 10 minutes. Each hank was hung in place and the torque Figure 2 collapse into one line depicted by the open circles
measured in the dry state (conditioned state in laboratory in Figure 3. [The measured deflections have been converted
at 20°C and approximately 65% RH) for each of six different into a torque value using equation (1).] This demonstrates
tensions, beginning with the largest (Table 1). The experi- that the technique can be used successfully to measure the
ment was then repeated using the same hanks wet (Table 1). torque per strand independent of the size of the hank. This
Ten repeated measurements were also made on a single hank validates the approach of deducing the torque in a single
in the dry state. This hank was removed from the torquem- strand from the torque in a hank. Figure 3 also includes the
eter and left untensioned for at least 5 minutes between results of repeating this experiment with wet yarns. This
repeats (Table 1). The same hank was also tested ten times confirmed that the measured torque per strand for a given
while wet, resting in a beaker of water (i.e. removed from applied tension per strand is also independent of hank size
the torquemeter) for about 5 minutes between trials (Table 1). for the wet yarn.
The results in Table 1 show that, except for the results from Figure 4 shows the results for a similar experiment using
the repeated trials on the single wet hank, the deflection a higher twist yarn (81 tex with a metric twist factor of 140).
given by the torquemeter could be used with an accuracy of In this case it can be seen that, at low values of tension per
approximately 5%. (As noted previously, the applied ten- strand, the curve deviates from linearity. This deviation
sion values in Table 1 for measurements on wet hanks have coincided with the observation that the hank was no longer
been corrected for buoyancy effects.) being held straight by the applied tension but rather some
The results from the repeated trials on the single wet buckling and minor localized snarling was occurring. This
hank showed a consistent decrease over the ten trials. A will reduce the net torque and explains the phenomenon
similar decrease was found in a hank left in water under in Figure 4 where the data points fall below the line for
tension for approximately 16 hours. In both cases the meas- very small values of tension per strand. The regression
ured deflection dropped by about 20%. It is assumed that coefficients for the low twist factor dry yarn in Figure 3 and
this phenomenon is related to time-dependent relaxation high twist factor dry yarn in Figure 4 were the same,
processes in the wet fibers. Since the established procedure r2 = 0.96, indicating that the method was independent of
takes less than 5 minutes and each sample hank was only twist level.
Torque in Worsted Wool Yarns P. Mitchell et al. 173 TRJ

Figure 2 Hank torque is plotted
against the applied tension for an
unset 78 tex yarn of twist factor 80
measured dry using hanks of dif-
ferent sizes. The bottom line cor-
responds to a hank with 10 strands
and each subsequent line corre-
sponds to increasing the hank size
by 10 strands up to a maximum of
100 strands.

Figure 3 A plot of torque per
strand as a function of tension per
strand for an unset 78 tex yarn
with a twist factor of 80. The open
circles represent all the data from
Figure 2 (i.e. dry yarns) and the
closed circles represent the corre-
sponding data for wet yarns.

It is interesting to note that, at a tension per strand in the same tension per strand is obtained, namely, 2 g/strand. Sin-
region of 5 mN, the low twist factor dry yarn in Figure 3 has gle factor analysis of variance of the corresponding torque
a similar measured torque as the high twist factor wet yarn per strand has been made to estimate the error in the indi-
in Figure 4 but does not show the same non-linear behav- vidual results. This shows that the mean coefficient of vari-
ior. Snarling is dependent, not only on yarn torque but ation across 42 data sets for the torque per strand to be
also yarn stiffness and thus the wet yarn, with a lower stiff- 4.6% (dry) and 5.4% (wet). These independent estimates are
ness, is more prone to snarling and hence the non-linear in good agreement with the ten replicate measurements
behavior. described in the previous section.
Another estimate of the error of each data point was made
using the following approach. In some instances, independent
measurements of the torque per strand at the same tension
Effect of Hank Length
per strand can be obtained from different combinations of The effect of hank length was investigated using 10 strand
number of strands and the applied strand weight. For exam- hanks of 80 tex unsteamed yarn with a twist factor of 80
ple using different weight (in grams) and strand number and measured dry, 12 months after spinning. Figure 5
combinations of 20 : 10, 100 : 50, 200 : 100, respectively, the shows that, as expected theoretically, the measured torque
TRJ 174 Textile Research Journal 76(2)

Figure 4 The torque per strand as
a function of tension per strand for
an unset 81 tex yarn of twist factor
140. Open circles represent the
data from dry yarns and closed
circles represent the data from
wet yarns.

Figure 5 The effect of changing
hank length on the measured
torque per strand of a dry 78 tex
unsteamed yarn with a twist factor
of 80. The different lines relate to
the six tensions used in Figure 2.

per strand is independent of hank length. This is an impor- The Concepts of Torque due to Applied
tant result for the experimental protocol since after mount- Tension and Intrinsic Torque
ing the hank on the torquemeter, there will inevitably be
some variation in the lengths of individual strands. The linear relationship between the torque per strand and
the applied tension per strand (as seen in Figure 3) provides
a useful insight about the origins of yarn torque. The slope
Components of Yarn Torque
of the line represents the change in torque with a corre-
The testing of the instrument over the range of different sponding change in yarn tension and therefore provides a
conditions presented above indicates that it is experimentally measure of the component of torque due to external forces.
a robust technique for measuring and analyzing the torque The intercept of the line with the vertical axis gives the
characteristics of yarns. This section of the paper will now value of the yarn torque at zero tension and therefore rep-
focus on how the technique can be used to gain a fuller resents the residual or intrinsic torque in the yarn due to the
understanding of the physical mechanisms associated with bending and twisting of the fiber during spinning. It is clear
yarn torque. from Figure 3 that the component of the yarn torque due to
Torque in Worsted Wool Yarns P. Mitchell et al. 175 TRJ

Figure 6 The torque due to applied
tension (i.e. the slope of plots simi-
lar to Figure 3) as a function of yarn
twist factor. Circles show unset
40 tex yarns and squares show the
set yarns (110°C for 10 minutes).
Diamonds indicate 78 and 81 tex
yarns with three different steam-
ing histories (Table 2). Open points
represent dry yarns and closed
points represent wet yarns.

the application of an external tension can easily be similar demonstrates that the torque generated by a given applied
to the intrinsic torque at low levels of applied tension; for external tension increases with increasing twist factor and is
example, for the dry yarn in Figure 3, the torque developed by independent of the level of set and physical state of the yarn.
a 0.1 N/strand external load is equal to the intrinsic torque. This is also apparent in Figures 3 and 4 where the fitted lines
Previous workers [15, 16] had to estimate the residual for both wet and dry yarn results are parallel.
or intrinsic yarn torque in continuous nylon filaments due A smaller data set was formed from 78 and 81 tex yarns
to fiber bending and twisting (called the net torque) by sub- with metric twist factors of 82 and 142 respectively, processed
tracting a theoretical calculated value of the yarn torque in three ways (unsteamed, steamed at 85°C for 10 minutes,
due to tension from the total torque measured experimen- steamed at 110°C for 10 minutes) and tested both dry and wet.
tally. The technique described here is a significant improve- These 12 results shown in Table 2 are also plotted on Fig-
ment and allows the intrinsic (or net torque) to be ure 6 and again this data demonstrates clearly that the
measured directly. torque due to applied tension at a given twist factor is inde-
pendent of the history or environment of the yarns and
Analysis of the Two Components of Yarn Torque directly related to twist factor.
Nine 40 tex yarns with metric twist factors between 60 and The theoretical calculations of Bennett and Postle [10]
140 were examined. The torque generated by these yarns, indicate that the torque due to applied tension is purely
both when unsteamed and when steamed at 110°C (1.43 bar) determined by yarn geometry. In the case of a staple fiber
for 10 minutes, was measured about 1 week after spinning. yarn with perfect fiber migration, their equation has the
For each experiment the torque per hank as a function of solution:
the tension per hank was obtained for 48 data points [hank LP  sec 3 β – 3sec β + 2
sizes of 4, 8, 12, and 16 strands for six different applied ten- ------ = R  --------------------------------------------- (4)
P  3tan β ( sec β – 1 ) 
sions as in Figure 2 (performed twice)]. For each yarn a plot
of torque per strand as a function of tension per strand was where LP is the torque arising from an applied tension, P is
obtained and the best-fit straight line determined (r2 > 0.96 the applied tension, R is the yarn radius and β is the helix
in all cases), similar to Figure 3. As explained above, the angle of the surface fibres. Note that in the original paper,
gradient is interpreted as the component of torque due to Bennett and Postle mistakenly included a factor of 2 in the
applied tension and the measured intercept as the intrinsic right-hand side of equation (4) [personal communication:
torque. R. Postle]. (While both R and β are dependent on yarn exten-
sion, for the current experiments using the torquemeter,
the maximum observed extension is less than 2% and this
Torque due to Applied Tension
will not significantly alter the value of the right-hand side
Figure 6 plots the gradient data, namely the incremental of equation (4).)
change in strand torque per unit applied external tension, From equation (4)
as a function of twist factor. The data from the four different
experimental series of 40 tex yarns (unsteamed, steamed, LP
------ = R f { β } (5)
dry, wet) all fall on the same straight line in Figure 6. This P
TRJ 176 Textile Research Journal 76(2)

Table 2 Summary of torque measurements on twelve yarns (two levels of linear density, two twist factors, three steaming
treatments) all produced from the one parent wool. The torque/tension and intrinsic torque values were derived from the
gradient and intercept of the line of best fit to the torque per strand versus tension per strand graph (n = 48 and r2 > 0.98
for all data).
Linear density (tex) 78 78 78 81 81 81 40 40 40 40 40 40
Metric twist factor 80 80 80 140 140 140 140 140 140 87 87 87
Steaming treatment (10 mins) none 85oC 110oC none 85oC 110oC none 85oC 110oC none 85oC 110oC
Torque/tension gradient dry (µNm/N) 16.56 18.29 18.62 36.18 34.34 34.88 25.13 26.21 22.32 12.44 13.31 13.97
Intrinsic torque dry(µNm) 2.635 0.634 0.437 4.621 1.186 0.176 2.854 0.568 0.13 0.947 0.251 0.205
Torque/tension gradient wet (µNm/N) 17.42 18.41 18.71 34.24 34.58 36.80 25.02 23.32 23.70 14.41 13.08 14.73
Intrinsic torque wet (µNm) 0.426 0.363 0.183 2.643 2. 371 1.598 1.569 1.259 0.634 0.280 0.224 0.071
Normalized intrinsic torque values 1.0 0.85 0.43 1.0 0.9 0.6 1 0.8 0.4 1 0.8 0.25

where the slopes in Figure 6 are in the ratio of Tex1/2 and this is
also observed in the data in Figure 6; that is, the ratio of the
 sec 3 β – 3sec β + 2 slopes is 1.43, which is close to that predicted from the square
f { β } =  --------------------------------------------- (6)
 3tan β ( sec β – 1 )  root of the ratio of the 78 and 81 tex yarns with the 40 tex
yarns, approximately √2.
For worsted yarns, the surface angle of twist β is less Furthermore by substituting for α, equation (10)
than 45° for the range of worsted yarns used [17] and a becomes
simple plot of equation (6), (not displayed here), shows
that for β < 45° L
-----P- = 9.64 × 10–4 vy T Tex (11)
f{β} = 0.482 tan β r2 = 0.999 and
Also on the basis of yarn geometry, tan β = 2 π RT,
and L
-----P- ÷ Tex = 9.64 × 10–4 vy T. (12)
Tex = π R2 vy–1 1000 (7) LP
P ÷ Tex)
To test equation (12), Figure 7 is a plot of ( ------
where T is the yarn twist in turns/metre, vy is the yarn-spe- against twist for all the 42 experiments from Figure 6; that
cific volume in m3/g; that is, vy = (packing fraction × fiber is, the sets of 40 tex yarns (unset and set, dry and wet) over
density(σ))–1 and R, the yarn radius, is measured in m, see a range of twists and the nominally 80 tex yarns (actually 78
[17]. Hence it can be shown that and 81) with two twist factors (80 and 140), unset and set, dry
and wet (as shown in Table 2). This combined data set plot-
tan β = 2 π1/2 vy1/2 α (8) ted in this manner forms one straight line through the origin
as predicted by equation (12). The slope of the line of best fit
where α is the metric twist factor, α = T(Tex/1000)1/2. through the origin, (r2 = 0.94) was 8.05 × 10–10 tex–1 m(tpm)–1
Furthermore by combining equations (5), (6), (7) and (8) and from equation (12) the yarn-specific volume was esti-
mated as 0.835 × 10–6 m3/g. Using a fiber density of 1.31 ×
LP 106 g/m3 for wool gives a packing fraction of 0.91, somewhat
------ = 0.964 π1/2 vy1/2 R α (9) higher than the literature values of about 0.45–0.65 for
worsted yarns [17]. One possibility is consolidation of the
packing of the fibers due to the effect of applied tension or
or twist. This seems unlikely because, interestingly, the linear
LP relationship in Figure 7 suggests that the packing of fibers
------ = 0.964 vy (Tex/1000)1/2 α (10) does not change over the range of twist factors used. Simi-
larly the effect of tension in Figures 3 and 4 indicate no
Equation (10) predicts that the data sets for constant lin- effect of tension on packing density.
ear density in Figure 6 form straight lines passing through Interestingly the packing fraction value of 0.91 equals
the origin, as observed. Further, equation (10) predicts that that expected when uniform circular cross-section fibers are
Torque in Worsted Wool Yarns P. Mitchell et al. 177 TRJ

Figure 7 The incremental torque
due to applied tension is normal-
ized by tex and plotted against
twist as per equation (12) using all
the data in Figure 6.

Figure 8 The intrinsic torque as a
function of yarn twist factor for the
same 40 tex yarns as in Figure 6.
Open circles represent unset yarns
and open squares represent set

hexagonally close packed. This ideal result may be a conse- intrinsic torque increases linearly with the twist factor and
quence of the model used and needs further evaluation. if extrapolated the curve passes through the origin, as seen
For example, Bennett and Postle [10] show in their theo- from Figure 9.
retical analysis that yarn torque is significantly affected by The intrinsic torque for the dry, steamed yarn in Figure 8
fiber migration and predict a fivefold decrease in torque is very low and shows no dependence on twist factor. The
between a 68 tex yarn of 600 tpm, a metric twist factor of steaming treatment results in both cohesive and permanent
114, with perfect migration compared with no migration. set and when the wool yarns are heated by steaming, the wool
The discovery described in this paper of a direct means to exceeds the glass transition temperature [3] and some set
measure the torque/tension relationship will allow a more can occur through thiol-disulphide interchange while in the
detailed evaluation of these theoretical models and alter- rubbery state. Subsequent cooling of the yarn back to the
native estimates of the yarn structural parameters. glassy state leads to the stabilization of any residual torque
with cohesive set sufficient to stabilize the yarn in its twisted
configuration. The fibers are unable to straighten and no
Intrinsic Torque intrinsic torque will manifest in the yarn. The observed small
Figure 8 plots the intercepts of the torque/tension relation- constant value of torque can be explained as a consequence
ships, namely the intrinsic torque, as a function of twist fac- of the sample preparation for the torquemeter. In preparing
tor for the nine 40 tex yarns either unsteamed or steamed the hanks for measurement, the yarn is drawn off the top of
at 110°C for 10 minutes. For the dry unsteamed yarn the the bobbin and, for a package of approximately 3 cm diam-
TRJ 178 Textile Research Journal 76(2)

Figure 9 A comparison of the dry
and wet intrinsic torque for the
unset 40 tex yarns in Figure 8.
Open diamonds are the dry values
and the closed diamonds are the
wet values.

eter; this will introduce an additional twist of approximately plots the observed dry and wet intrinsic torque for the 40 tex
10 turns per meter. By extrapolation of the dry unsteamed unset yarns in Figure 8, as a function of metric twist factor.
curve in Figure 8, the torque corresponding to this addi- The similarity in the form of the observed data to the curves
tional twist can be estimated to be approximately 0.1 µNm, plotted by Platt et al. for a w value of approximately 0.71
which is in good agreement with the measured values. and 0.17 is clear (In this region of twist, β is approximately
The work of Platt et al. [18] can be applied to the phe- linearly related to the metric twist factor α.) The full appli-
nomenon of intrinsic torque identified in this study. Platt cation of Platt’s model to the yarn torque data will be
et al. [18] modeled the torsion in a yarn due to fiber bend- described in more detail in a subsequent paper with analy-
ing and fiber torsion and derived the expression for yarn sis across a wider range of yarns.
torque due to fiber bending MB and fiber torsion MT as: Another feature consistent with both the torque model
in equation (15) and wool physics is seen in Figure 10. The
wet intrinsic torque is shown for the unset yarn and the
N f E f I f  log e sec 2 β – sin 2 β
-  ----------------------------------------------
M B = --------------- (13) steamed 40 tex yarns. After steaming at 110°C (1.43 bar)
Ry  tan β  for 10 minutes, the wet intrinsic torque decreases and this
is consistent with stress relaxation of the disulphide bonds
and within the intermediate filaments. Consequently the restor-
ing force decreases and this is equivalent to a decrease in
N f G f K f  sin 2 β the bending and torsional moduli. If the fractional decay in
M T = -------------------  -------------- (14)
R y  tan β  these relaxation moduli after steaming, that is setting, is
equal then equation (15) would predict that the shape of
the intrinsic torque curve with twist factor would be similar,
where Nf, Ef, Gf, If and Kf are the number of fibers, the
because w remains constant but the overall value of intrin-
fiber bending and torsional moduli and the bending and
sic torque will decrease as influenced by E in the factor,
torsional moment of inertia of the fibers, respectively, or
(Nf Ef Kf)/Ry, see equation (15). These features are evident
in the wet data shown in Figure 10. Similar behavior can be
Nf Ef Kf seen in the wet torque data given in Table 2, for four sets of
- ( f1 { β } + w f2 { β } )
M Total = ------------------ (15)
Ry yarn, unsteamed and steamed under two conditions for set-
ting. The effect of the steaming treatments on the relative
where w is the ratio of the torsional rigidity Gf Kf to the wet fiber relaxation moduli is shown when the intrinsic
bending rigidity Ef If and f1{ß} and f2{ß} are the two trigo- torque data for the steamed yarns is normalized against the
nometric factors in equations (13) and (14), respectively. wet intrinsic torque for the unsteamed yarn. For example
Figure 9 of the paper by Platt et al. [11] graphs the influ- the 81 tex, 140 twist factor yarns show relative wet relaxa-
ence of w on MTotal as a function of yarn surface helix angle. tion moduli of 1, 0.9 and 0.6. This trend is consistent with
In the case of wool, w is expected to be about 0.71 in the stress relaxation in the fiber during setting as a conse-
dry state [18] in comparison with about 0.17 in the wet state quence of the rearrangement of disulphide cross-links and
[19] (i.e. equation (15) shows that the torsional contribution a reduction in the bending and torsional fiber relaxation
to the total torque is higher in the dry condition). Figure 9 moduli.
Torque in Worsted Wool Yarns P. Mitchell et al. 179 TRJ

Figure 10 The effect of setting on
the wet torque. Squares are the
unset values and diamonds are the
set values.

This approach to measuring the torsional properties of
yarn has potential to be applied to yarn quality and long-
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