Combining the use of overspray and blending for successful processing of very sticky cotton

Bobby Wyatt, Dean Etheridge


Issues related to stickiness in cotton may be divided into three categories: prevention, measurement, and treatment. This paper focuses primarily on the treatment of sticky cotton at the textile mill. When honeydew (insect secretions) is the cause of significant stickiness, achieving acceptable processing through the spinning mill requires b1end ing the sticky cotton with non-sticky cottOll, applying an overspray to the raw fiber, reducing humidity, or a combination of these treatments. In the ongOing work with organically grown cotton at the International Textile Center (ITCl, severe stickiness is a recurring problem. To help alleviate the problem, an organically approved overspray was developed and has been tested over the past two seasons for use in textile mills. So far all the field testing has been done at harvest and ginning; however, the overspray was developed for use in textile mills and tests will be conducted in a coml!lercial U.s. mill during the next few months. The ITe has long used full·sized carding machil.1eS to categorize the degree of stickiness in cotton. By utilizing the crush-roll, an experienced operator may effectively' observe whether a sample of cotton fibers will process in a sticky manner. The following ordinal ranking system for stickiness has been deyeloped: . 0 - NOT STICKY This rating applies to samples that exhibit no stickiness. The card web passes cleanly through the crush-roll, is de1ivered to the trumpet, and forms into an even sliver. . 0.5 -VERY SLIGHTLY STICKY This rating is given when one may observe periodic picks in the card web, but no tears occur and an adequate sliver is 'formed without interruption of the ca rding process. (Experience has shown that seed-coat fragments are highly correlated with this degree of stickiness, while it is rare for honeydew stickiness to get this rating.) • I - SLIGHTLY STICKY This rating means that the sticky tears in the card web occur periQdically, requiring remedial steps by the card . operator, causing delays in production, and resulting in a sliver that is uneven in both weight and diameter. . 2· MODERATELY STICKY This rating applies when the cotton web tears and ..wraps around the crush-roll; the fibers may be removed from the roll by the op~rato , but there is no success in consistently forming a card sliver. . 3· VERY STICKY This rating denotes a threshold where not only does the fiber stick to the crush-roll, it cannot be removed by the operator except with a tedious picking process. Produc· tion of a sliver is not possible. It should be noted that these categories and the ordinal rankings assigned to them do not e,nable the predictive power needed for control ex aute of.stickiness problems. This requ ires an objective, cardinal quantification of stickiness that correlates with fiber behavior in textile proceSSing. This need has lead to the ITe becoming a'beta site to help develop procedure's for using the new !'intronics FCT instrument in the prediction and manage- . . men! of sticky cotton.' Our FCT instrument was made operational in February, 1996, and our early efforts are necessarily focused on basic operational ~nd calibration issues. The intention is to develop procedures for using the FCf not only to predict sticky behaVior in the processing of cotton fiber, but to predict the effectiveness of steps to alleviate the stickiness before the cotton is taken to the opening line of a textile mill.

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