Mercerization of cotton for strength with special reference to aircraft cloth

Wilkie, J B (Bureau of Standards)
February 1933

The object of the present investigation was to determine the conditions for mercerizing cotton yarn to obtain the maximum strength for a given weight. Apparatus for controlling the variables was built and yarns were mercerized with it under systematically varied conditions of tension, time, temperature, and concentration of caustic soda. The strongest conclusion to be drawn from this work is that the strongest mercerized yarn of a given count from a given quality of cotton is obtained under the following conditions: 1. use of low-twist yarn obtained with twist multipliers from 2.2 to 3; 2. thorough pretreatment of the yarn to remove all extraneous materials; 3. mercerization at a temperature of 0 C or lower; 4. use of sufficient tension during mercerization to prevent the yarn from contracting more than 3 percent. 5. Use of caustic solution having a concentration of 10 percent or higher; 6. the time of mercerization to be 5 minutes. The resulting yarn should be 40 to 100 percent stronger than the original yarn of the same weight.

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