Thesis Details

Thesis Title: The effect of introducing a color-carrying low-melt thermobonding fiber in the production of 100% cotton heather fabrics
Thesis Author: Lila Villarreal
Abstract: A driving force in the heather fabric market is the demand for "all natural" or 100% cotton fabrics. Currently, heather fabrics are produced by blending cotton with solution-dyed polyester (PET) or costly stock-dyed cotton. Quality problems in heather fabric blends are encountered because of the nature of blending two dissimilar fibers. This thesis investigated the benefits of blending a color-carrying low-melt fiber in the production of heather yams to make a heather fabric that can be labeled as 100% cotton. A heather effect can be produced by blending low-melt, color-carrying, polyester fibers with cotton and heat-setting the fabric. During heat-setting, the low-melt polyester fibers flow at a lower temperature than the PET, and adhere to the cotton substrate, resulting in distribution of color throughout the fabric. In the fluid state, these fibers do not form a film, but bond with the cotton fibers on the cotton substrate, which makes the color more permanent, slightly affecting the stiffness and hand of the fabric. Yarn and fabric properties of the cotton/low-melt polyester blends were comparable to traditional cotton/polyester blends. This research found that heather yams blended with low-melt fibers can meet the demand and regulations associated with 100% cotton fabrics. Results of this research indicate blending a color-carrying low-melt fiber with cotton can produce 100% cotton heather fabrics. Furthermore, the fundamental properties of the Foss Manufacturing low-melt PETG fibers can also be utilized to introduce other functional properties into fabrics, such as antibacterial and anti-static agents.