Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Mercerized Cotton

Mercerized cotton

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Mercerized cotton yarn reels
Mercerized cotton yarn reels

Mercerization is a treatment for cotton fabric and thread that gives fabric a lustrous appearance. The process is applied to materials like cotton or hemp.

The process was devised in 1844 by John Mercer of Great Harwood, Lancashire, England, who treated cotton fibres with sodium hydroxide (NaOH). The treatment caused the fibres to swell, which in Mercer's version of the process shrunk the overall fabric size and made it stronger and easier to dye. The process did not become popular, however, until H. A. Lowe improved it into its modern form in 1890. By holding the cotton during treatment to prevent it from shrinking, Lowe found that the fibre gained a lustrous appearance.[1][2]

The modern production method for mercerized cotton, also known as pearl or pearle cotton, gives cotton thread (or cotton-covered thread with a polyester core) a sodium hydroxide bath that is then neutralized with an acid bath. This treatment increases luster, strength, affinity to dye, resistance to mildew, and also reduces lint. Cotton with long staple fiber lengths responds best to mercerization. Mercerized thread is commonly used to produce fine crochet.

[edit] References

  1. ^ J. Gordon Cook (1984). Handbook of Textile Fibres: Volume I: Natural Fibres. Woodhead, p. 68. ISBN 1855734842.
  2. ^ Beaudet, Tom (1999). What is Mercerized cotton?. FiberArts.org. Retrieved on 2007-01-03.

[edit] External links

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