Development of Rotor-spun yarn from blends of short-shorn wool and polyester

Dean Ethridge, S. Ramkuma, William Cole, James Simonton

Abstract


Yarns made from wool/polyester blends are well suited for a variety of woven and knitted textile products. Desirable characteristics of products made from these blends are comfort, strength, and wrinkle resistance. Market penetration of this blend is limited, however, by the fact that the yarns are typically spun on long staple spinning systems to accommodate the wool fibers. The global capacity of these spinning systems is small and the processing costs are relatively high. If yarn spinning could be accomplished on the short staple (cotton) spinning system, then the use of this blend could be increased. There is no fundamental reason why the long staple spinning system must be used for wool/polyester blends. Polyester is commonly cut to lengths suitable for the cotton spinning system. Wool can be provided in these lengths by shearing the sheep twice a year instead of only once. Certainly this is feasible in sheep production areas with mild winter climates, as in the southern United States, Mexico, Australia, and South Africa. The term used for this fiber is short-shorn wool, or SSW. The feasibility of spinning wool blends on the ring spinning system has been demonstrated [1, 2, 3]. However, if the spinning could be successfully done on the rotor spinning system, then the manufacturing costs would be much lower and the pricing point needed for profitable production would enable greater market penetration. Past experience at the International Textile Center has shown that spinning this blend on the rotor spinning system is often not feasible [4, 5]. Nevertheless, we thought that the new Rieter R 20 spinning machine had potential for doing it, because the trash ejection channels associated with the combing rollers can be manipulated to prevent the loss of wool fibers before they pass into the rotor chamber. Even if a consistent rotor spinning process is achieved, the ultimate challenge is to produce a yarn with sufficient strength to substitute for those produced on traditional, long staple systems. This article provides a short report on preliminary results obtained in producing 8 Ne rotor yarns.

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