Thesis Details

Thesis Title: Hydroentanglement Processes for the Physical Enhancement of Knitted Fabrics
Thesis Author: Stephannia Williams
Abstract: This research involves the application of hydroentangling technology as a means of significantly improving knitted fabric properties. Hydroentanglement describes a versatile process for manufacturing fabrics using fine, closely spaced, high velocity jets of water to entangle loose arrays of fibers. Hydroentanglement is a stable, relatively mature technology that sees mass use in the nonwovens industry. In the past, various efforts have been made, directed at improving the dimensional stability and physical properties of woven and knitted fabrics through the finishing technique of hydroentanglement. In such applications, warp and filling fibers in fabrics are hydroentangled at crossover points to effect enhancement in fabric cover. Several U.S. patents describe these efforts, but there remains a need to better reduce the pilling tendency and better improve abrasion resistance of a pillable fabric utilizing a physical finishing method that can be employed based upon specific process parameters for generation of an antipilling fabric. The process parameters of hydroentangling are investigated and optimized to achieve desired results. Fabric selection was based on industry interest and includes ring spun single knit and double knit constructions in fiber combinations of cotton, polyester, and cotton/polyester blended fibers. Potential benefits include enhanced fabric durability, stability, and appearance. Fabric properties were tested before and after the hydroentanglement process. The experimental design was conducted to optimize testing, material selection, and process parameters. For the purpose of the experimental model, process parameters include speed, pressure, and number of manifold passes as the main factors of study related to hydroentangling. The initial fabric selection included six fabric configurations: 100% cotton single knit, 100% cotton double knit, 100% polyester single knit, 100% polyester double knit, 65/35 polyester/ cotton single knit, and 65/ 35 polyester/ cotton double knit. From the model, the process parameters were optimized based on data provided from testing to achieve a desirable fabric. Pilling, abrasion, air permeability, thickness, weight and stiffness were investigated as primary testing parameters.