Being one of the most ancient crops, cotton is the most important natural fiber referring to global production. Its relevance in the textile industry grew stronger during the XIX century with the industrialization process and nowadays still represents almost half of worldwide consume of textiles fibers.
Here are some of its main properties:
- 1. Cotton is a hydrophobic fiber that becomes negatively charged in the water.
- 2. It is insoluble in water, but this can penetrate through interfibrilar spaces and it gets puffed.
- 3. Mineral acids attack it and it can be dissolved in Sulfuric Acid at 70%
- 4. Dilute acids don’t attack it, which is why basic pH is used to neutralize processes that have been made to the fiber.
- 5. If the fiber is treated with weak acids and the neutralizing process is delayed, it can get hydrocellulose which is the decrease of the fiber resistance, and it can generate rips.
- 6. It is compatible with strong alkalis (John Mercer used this to make mercerization process).
- 7. It is resistant to solvents. Besides, when treated with oxidizing agents such as hydrogen peroxide, sodium hypochlorite, potassium permanganate, among others, there must be strict control of temperature and pH. In addition, there should be no high hardness and no presence of metals such as manganese and iron because they can produce oxycellulose and therefore a deterioration of the fiber.
- 8. The abrasion resistance is acceptable, this refers to the ability to withstand rubbing and can be reinforced with a finishing process to give a better quality.
- 9. If cotton fiber stays humid, it is vulnerable to fungi.
- 10. Elongation refers to the maximum expansion before break point, dry cotton extends between 3 to 7% and 9,5% when humid.
- 11. Stretch: refers to the ability to recover its original length after suffering deformation by stretching.
- 12. Cotton’s density is 1,52 grams/cm3.
- 13. It is a fiber with high resistance to solar light, heat conductive and not statically loaded.
- 14. It is a malleable fiber that transports humidity, resists breakage under tension which allows tissue making.
- 15. Cotton’s humidity is 8,5%. This results in textile fabrics that work for almost all consumer segments due to its comfort and versatility level.