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An Integrated Approach to the Analysis of Multi-Component Fiber Blending. Part III: Analysis of Interactive Fiber Blending

Yehia El Mogahzy, Ramsis Farag, Faissal Abdelhady and Asaad Mohamed Textile Research Journal 2005 75: 833 DOI: 10.1177/0040517505053899

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An Integrated Approach to the Analysis of Multi-Component Fiber Blending. Part III: Analysis of Interactive Fiber Blending

Y EHIA E L M OGAHZY 1 , R AMSIS F ARAG, F AISSAL A BDELHADY, AND A SAAD M OHAMED

Auburn University, AL 36849, U.S.A.

ABSTRACT

This paper represents the third of a three-part series in which multi-component fiber blending was analyzed using an integrated approach. The essence of this approach is that the phenomenon of fiber blending should be viewed on the basis of four basic modes of blending: structural blending, attributive blending, interactive blending, and appearance blending. In this part of the study, the focus is on interactive blending. A modified rotor ring system is used in which the torque associated with opening and blending of a certain mass of fibers is monitored throughout its complete run. Blends of different cotton fiber types and blends of polyester and cotton fibers are evaluated using a number of analytical methods such as the torque profile during opening and blending, the blend profile of torque parameters, and the progressive change resulting from consecutive opening and blending. The results of this study revealed that when cotton fibers of different types are blended together, fiber length and fiber fineness can influence interactive blending in such a way that a great deal of the initial mechanical work done is consumed in opening and blending the longer and finer component in the blend. Large difference in fiber length and fiber fineness can result in a nonadditive and nonlinear maximum torque associated with blending. When cotton fibers are blended with polyester fibers, surface incompatibility becomes a more serious issue than fiber dimensional characteristics. In this regard, a possible failure of fiber cluster breakdown may occur, leading to nonlinear and nonaddi- tive interactive blending. The results also reveal that the propensity to opening of different fiber types may follow different trends in consecutive processing.

In Part I [1] of this study, we introduced different analytical aspects that can collectively reveal the full nature of fiber blending. In Part II of this study [3], we discussed structural and attributive modes of blending using blends of different cotton fiber types and blends of polyester and cotton fibers. In this Part of the study, we shift our attention to interactive blending. This implies the interaction between fibers within a fiber component and between different fiber components during the blending process. Understanding the nature of this inter- action can result in selecting appropriate fiber types and fiber attributes for a particular process and in optimizing machine settings for particular blends. In addition, inter- active blending is often associated with many technolog- ical problems including: rough fiber flow, machine clog- ging, and breakage of fiber strands. These problems can have a great impact on the consistency and quality of blended end products [6, 8, 10].

1 To whom correspondence should be addressed; e-mail: elmogye @eng.auburn.edu

Among all modes of fiber blending, interactive blend- ing is the least understood. This is due to its complex nature and the dynamic changes encountered when fibers of different types interact together during processing. In practice, this mode of blending is typically evaluated through experimental trials involving actual processing (opening, carding or drawing) of fibers and subjectively evaluating the processing performance of fibers [7]. Most fiber producers and machinery makers perform this type of evaluation as an integral part of their quality control and design programs. This is typically a time-consuming test as it involves a great deal of trial and error adjust- ments and corrections. In addition, it often lacks the quantitative measures that are necessary for product de- velopment and optimization. However, it serves as a good quality control tool for measuring performance consistency of fibers. As indicated in Part I of this study [1], an optimum interactive blending requires the fulfillment of two main criteria: maximum breakdown of fiber clusters and ap- propriate cohesion between fibers. These two criteria appear to be in conflict on the grounds that a complete

Textile Res. J. 75 (12), 833– 845 (2005) DOI: 10.1177/0040517505053899

© 2005 SAGE Publications www.sagepublications.com

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breakdown of fiber clusters requires a smooth fiber in- teraction and virtually no fiber cohesion. However, an appropriate cohesion between fibers is required to main- tain the integrity of fiber flow during processing and to allow the formation of fiber strands. It is important therefore to analyze interactive blending in view of these two criteria. In this part of the study, these two factors were analyzed by measuring the propensity of a fiber strand to opening and blending. Key questions addressed in this part of the study include:

What measures can we use to analyze interactive blend- ing? How do dimensional characteristics such as fiber length and fiber fineness influence interactive blending? What is the impact of fiber cohesion or fiber friction on interactive blending? What is the extent of meeting the linear-additive rule of interactive blending? What is the effect of successive runs on interactive blending?

Experimental Technique for Evaluating Interactive Blending

In this study, we used a rotor ring unit to measure the propensity of a fiber strand for opening and blending. This unit was used in several studies in the past [e.g. 4, 5, 9, 11]. For the purpose of this study, the unit was modified substantially to allow pre-opening at the feed- ing stage using a wired clothed feed roll, and to permit real-time monitoring of fiber flow during the blending process so that a complete opening and blending profile can be generated. As shown in Figure 1, a torque couple was mounted on the opening roll shaft to allow measuring the resistance of fiber flow during opening. Torque and speed signals were acquired using a data acquisition system and Lab- View software system. Signal processing and analysis resulted in a torque profile or a stick-slip pattern charac- terizing the behavior of fiber flow during opening and blending. In addition, quantitative parameters such as the mean torque and the opened web (band) width were measured. These parameters along with the torque profile collectively characterize the propensity to opening and blending of the fiber sample. Fibers in the raw or pre-opened form are fed to the feeding roll by placing them on the feed plate and dis- placing them slowly until the front end of the fiber mat is caught by the feeding roll. The feeding roll rotates clock- wise at a very slow speed (4 rpm) carrying the fibers stripped from the feed plate. A new wired feed roll was used to allow a point-to-point opening action between

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the feed roll and the opening roll. The opening roll rotates counterclockwise and open the fibers delivered by the feed roll. The high rotational speed of the opening roll allows a great deal of opening. Opened fibers re- leased from the opening roll are delivered to the inside wall of the rotor via air suction. They are then condensed onto the inside wall of the rotor to form a fiber ring, which can be taken out of the rotor after completion of the opening process to be assessed, or re-fed again to the system for another run.

Torque Profile of Interactive Blending

As indicated above, the torque associated with open- ing and blending a fiber mass was monitored during the duration of each rotor-ring run. This resulted in generat- ing a torque profile, or a torque–time relationship. We should point out that all blend trials performed in this study represented intimate blending in which raw fibers of each fiber type were manually pre-opened to form small fiber tufts and manually pre-blended by weight depending on the desired blend ratio. The fiber mass was then fed to the rotor ring via a feed plate. As a result, the initial manually blended fiber mass was in a rough form of a discrete fiber strand, which typically consisted of disorderly small fiber clumps. As a result, the torque profile produced from the first rotor-ring run exhibited an erratic and often unpredictable pattern. The output material of the first run was a thick fiber ring of a narrow width, when opened, resulting from the condensation effect into the rotor. This ring was cut at one cross-section to create a fiber strand, which was then re-fed to the rotor-ring to perform a second run. This procedure was repeated to perform subsequent runs through the rotor ring. Repeated runs through the rotor ring yielded more homogenous fiber strand and more consistent torque profiles. To ascertain consistency and high reproducibility, torque profiles produced during the fifth rotor-ring run were considered for blending analysis and comparative analysis between different fiber types. Figure 2 shows the general shape of the torque profiles produced during the fifth rotor-ring runs. The initial zone of the torque profile is a no-load zone. This begins at the moment the fiber strand is placed on the feed plate and ends when the fibers begin to transfer from the feed roll to the opening roll. After the initial zone, the torque profile can be divided into three primary periods. The first period of the profile (period #1) reflects the initial resistance to the opening process by the newly fed fiber strand. The rise in torque in this period is a result of the resistance to the progres- sively increasing fiber mass removed from the feed roll

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D ECEMBER 2005 835 F IGURE 1. Modified rotor ring. F IGURE 2. Torque profile of

FIGURE 1. Modified rotor ring.

F IGURE 2. Torque profile of fiber blending and associated parameters.

profile of fiber blending and associated parameters. to the opening roll. This rise continues until it

to the opening roll. This rise continues until it reaches a maximum point at which the maximum amount of fibers per strand cross-section is being opened. A stick-slip pattern in this period typically reflects a combination of

inter-fiber friction and fiber-metal friction. However, the fiber-metal friction dominates this period. The slope (tan ), which may be termed “initial opening stiffness” re- flects the initial resistance of fibers to opening; a high

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angle ( ) indicates high initial opening stiffness. The maximum torque (T max ) in this period reflects the initial torque threshold of the fibers being opened. The second period of the torque profile (period #2) represents a quasi steady-state condition of fiber opening. From a technological viewpoint, this is the most impor- tant period. The stick-slip pattern in this period indicates a combination of fiber friction and fiber resiliency. The friction component here is largely dominated by inter- fiber friction. This pattern is characterized by the mean and the variance of the torque associated with opening the fibers (T m , 2 T ). The third period of the profile (period #3) is associated with a torque reduction resulting from clearing the feed roll from fibers and fiber transfer from the opening roll to the rotor. Occasionally, at the end of the second period and as the fibers are transferred to the rotor, a significant torque peak may exist, which in some cases may be greater than the first peak. This peak may be a result of high fiber–metal friction with the metal being the empty feed roll wires and the fibers are those carried by the opening roll. In typical processing, this high torque does not exist as a result of the continuous throughput and transfer from one opening stage to another. Accordingly, the second torque peak and the torque reduction period (period #3) will be ignored in our analysis.

Results and Discussions

COTTON/COTTON BLENDS

The analysis of interactive blending involved three types of cotton: long-fine (LF) upland cotton, short-

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coarse (SC) upland cotton, and extra long staple (ELS) Giza70 cotton. Values of fiber properties of these cottons were presented in Part II of this study [3] and are sum- marized below.

Mic

ELS

3.9

LF

3.6

SC

5.6

UHML 1.43 1.32 1.06

11.6

29

5.0

200

0.97 0.90 0.87

SFI

Str

Elo

Fin

ML

3.2

48

4.6

148

6.5

40.4

4.3

145

Figure 3 shows the torque profiles of the LF/SC cotton blend. These profiles clearly indicate that the SC cotton exhibits a torque level that is distinctly lower than that of the LF cotton. This is largely attributed to the expected lower inter-fiber cohesion of the SC cotton in compari- son with the LF cotton as a result of its shorter length and smaller number of fibers per cross-section of the fiber strand. This means that dimensional characteristics of fibers such as length and fineness can indeed influence the propensity to opening. The extent of this influence will be clarified later in this paper. Quantitatively, the SC cotton has lower values of opening stiffness, maximum torque and mean torque than the LF cotton. At 50%LF/50%SC, there is a rapid rise in the initial part of the torque profile leading to higher initial opening stiffness and higher maximum torque than the individual blend components (100%LF or 100%SC). This rapid rise was very consistent in all the replicates made on this blend. Based on evaluation of the appearance of blended

this blend. Based on evaluation of the appearance of blended F IGURE 3. Torque profiles of

FIGURE 3. Torque profiles of the Long Fine/ Short Coarse (LF/SC) cotton blend.

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fiber webs, this high initial torque rise was found to be largely related to a loss of intimacy in the incoming fiber strand with some LF and SC cotton fibers still forming clustered groups. This explanation was supported by the results obtained from subsequent rotor-ring runs which showed that the initial opening stiffness of the 50%LF/ 50%SC blend progressively decreased in subsequent runs indicating an effect of interactive heterogeneity of the two fiber types. In the second period of the profile the 50%LF/50%SC blend assumes an intermediate level be- tween the individual blend components. Figure 4 shows the torque profiles of the ELS/LF cotton blend. These profiles indicate that the ELS cotton exhibits a torque level that is distinctly higher than that of the LF cotton. This is partially attributed to the ex- pected higher inter-fiber cohesion of the ELS cotton in comparison with the LF cotton as a result of its long length. Quantitatively, the ELS cotton has higher values of opening stiffness, maximum torque and mean torque than the LF cotton. At 50%ELS/50%LF, the torque pro- file exhibits an intermediate level between those of the individual components. A different approach to analyze the blending perfor- mance, which was discussed in Part I of this study [1] is to examine the deviation of torque of the actual blends from the linear additive law of blending. Figure 5 shows blend profiles of torque parameters for the LF/SC and LF/ELS blends. Note that the linear additive law was applied using the blend proportion by number as ex- plained in Part II [3]. Figures 5a and b indicate that both cotton blends exhibited a linearly-additive mean torque. Since the ideal blend profile is based on the fiber pro- portion by number, it is clear that dimensional charac- teristics such as length and fineness can influence the propensity to opening of the cotton fiber blend. Figure 5c

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shows that the maximum torque of the LF/SC blend exhibited a clear deviation from the linear-additive rule. Figure 5d shows that the ELS/LF blend was additive but nonlinear. This makes the mean torque more suitable for characterizing the interactive nature of blending than other torque parameters as it reflects the steady-state processing condition. Another aspect of interactive blending stems from the effect of successive runs on the propensity to opening and blending. Figure 6 shows the mean torque and the opened web width at different rotor-ring runs for the two cotton blends discussed above. These results indicate that successive runs of cotton fiber blends result in progres- sive reduction in the mean torque and progressive in- crease in the web width. The torque results are generally expected on the basis that consecutive runs result in more opening, better fiber alignment, and consequently lower resistance to opening. The progressive increase in band width is a result of the progressive increase in the degree of opening. This is also an indication of progressive fiber cluster breakdown. Obviously, a larger number of fibers and longer fiber length result in a larger width of the fiber web. The results of Figure 6 also indicate that the mean torque and the web width of the 50/50 blends were intermediate between the values of the individual com- ponents. However, the change in both the torque and the web width was not linearly related to the blend ratio. For instance, Figure 6a shows a bias of torque toward the SC cotton and Figure 6c shows a bias of band width toward the LF cotton. In light of the above results, it follows that when cotton fibers of different types are blended together, fiber length and fiber fineness can indeed influence interactive blending in such a way that a great deal of the initial

F IGURE 4. Torque profiles of the Extra Long Staple/Long Fine (ELS/LF) cotton blend.

of the Extra Long Staple/Long Fine (ELS/LF) cotton blend. Downloaded from trj.sagepub.com at Technische Universität

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838

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838 T EXTILE R ESEARCH J OURNAL F IGURE 5. Comparison between actual and linear (by

F IGURE 5. Comparison between actual and linear (by number) blend patterns of cotton blends.

mechanical work done (opening stiffness) is consumed in opening and blending the longer and finer component in the blended fiber strand. Large difference in fiber length and fiber fineness (e.g. the case of LF/SC blend) can result in a non-additive and nonlinear maximum torque (or the torque required to initiate blending and opening). However, the surface and crimp compatibility of cotton fiber blends result in an additive and linear mean torque. This means that blending of cotton fibers of different types is largely governed by the fiber separation mechanism. Obviously, exceptions to these findings should be expected if one or more of the cotton compo- nents in the blend exhibit abnormal surface characteris- tics such as fiber stickiness or high variation in wax percent [5].

Cotton/Polyester Blends

Following the procedures discussed above, we exam- ined the torque profiles of some cotton/polyester blends.

Polyester fibers used are those that were examined in Part II of this study. Values of some of the basic char- acteristics of these fibers are given below and their torque profiles are shown in Figure 7.

Property

LP

BP

Mean Length inch 1.38 1.07

Fineness millitex 188 105 Crimp extension % 26 37

As shown in Figure 7, the two types of polyester fibers exhibited different levels of torque parameters. The long polyester (LP) had higher torque level than the black polyester (BP). Based on the values of fiber characteris- tics of the two fibers, the BP has more fibers per unit weight and higher crimp than the LP fibers. These should have resulted in higher torque values. However, the LP fiber has a longer length than the BP fiber. In addition, it exhibited higher fiber friction as shown in Table I, which shows values of fiber friction of the different fibers

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D ECEMBER 2005 839 F IGURE 6. Mean torque and band width at different rotor-ring runs

FIGURE 6. Mean torque and band width at different rotor-ring runs of cotton blends.

examined in this study measured independently using the Auburn Beard Friction Test [2]. This method reveals frictional values that strictly reflect the surface behavior of fibers, independent of fiber dimensions. Figure 8 shows the torque profiles of the LF/LP blend. As can be seen in this Figure, the LP fiber exhibited substantially higher torque level than the LF cotton fiber. This is also supported by the higher values of quantita- tive torque parameters of the LP fiber over those of the LF fiber. This trend is largely attributed to the longer length and the higher friction of LP fiber in comparison with the LF fiber; this is despite the larger number of fibers per unit weight of the LF fiber over that of the LP fiber resulting from its fineness [3]. The 50%LP/50%LF blend showed an intermediate torque level between the two individual components. However, there was a clear bias to the LF component. One reason for this bias is the larger number of fibers of

the LF component in comparison with the LP component in the blend (66 to 34%). Another reason stems from the substantially higher friction of LP fiber over that of LF fiber. This effect is expected to hinder the cluster break- down of LP fibers leading to a propensity to opening of the blend that is merely a result of fiber separation of the LF cotton fiber. The extent of meeting the additivity and linearity criteria is demonstrated in Figure 9 for three of the torque parameters, namely: mean torque, torque slope and max- imum torque. Note that the linear-additive law was ap- plied using the blend proportion by number as explained in Part II [3]. As can be seen in Figure 9, the mean torque largely met the additivity rule, but a great deal of bias toward the LF fiber is observed. On the other hand, the maximum torque and the slope (or opening stiffness) showed a clear bias to the LP component. This bias supports the speculation made earlier regarding the effect

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840 T EXTILE R ESEARCH J OURNAL F IGURE 7. Torque profiles of two different polyester

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FIGURE 7. Torque profiles of two different polyester types.

TABLE I. Beard maximum friction values of different fibers at 6 psi lateral pressure [2].

 

LP

BP

ELS

LF

SC

F-F Friction (gr) F-M Friction (gr)

68

50

34

35

36

54

36

25

27

28

LP, long polyester; BP, black polyester; ELS, extra long staple Giza70 cotton; LF, long-fine upland cotton; SC, short-coarse upland cotton.

of interfiber friction of the LP fiber since a bias in these two parameters to one component typically implies work consumed in attempting to break down fiber clusters.

This is particularly true when the bias is not due to dimensional bias or a greater number of fibers per unit weight. The effects of successive runs on the propensity to opening and blending of the LF/LP blend are shown in Figure 10. The two fiber types exhibited different behav- iors in successive runs through the rotor ring. While the mean torque associated with the LF cotton fiber de- creased with successive runs, the LP fiber had a tendency to initially increase and then level off in further runs. These trends were found to be consistent for each poly-

These trends were found to be consistent for each poly- F IGURE 8. Torque profiles of

FIGURE 8. Torque profiles of the LP/LF polyester/cotton blend (fifth RR run).

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D ECEMBER 2005 F IGURE 9. Linearity and additivity of different torque parameters of the LP/LF

FIGURE 9. Linearity and additivity of different torque parameters of the LP/LF polyester/cotton blend.

ester fiber type examined in this study. The LP/LF blend followed the LF fiber trend and it was biased in value to the LF fiber. The web width of the LP fiber decreased progressively with successive rotor ring runs. On the

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other hand, the LF fiber increased with successive rotor ring runs. The LP/LF blend was biased to the LP fiber. The second cotton/polyester blend considered in this study was the LF/BP blend evaluated in Part II [3] in the context of structural and attributive blending. It repre- sents an actual fiber blend utilized in textile processing to produce special-effect fabrics. We should point out that the particular Black Polyester fiber used in this blend resulted in an unexplained blending irregularity when it was blended with cotton fibers in an actual mill opera- tion. Figure 11 shows the torque profiles of the LF/BP blend measured during the fifth rotor-ring run. As can be see in this Figure, the BP fiber exhibited lower torque level than the LF fiber. This was somewhat surprising in view of the fact that the BP fiber has more fibers per unit weight and higher fiber friction than the LF fibers. Unlike most of the fiber torque profiles examined in this study, the BP fiber torque profile exhibited early torque peaks in the no-load zone. Close examination of these peaks re- vealed that they were a result of a low coherence in the BP fiber strand leading to few clusters of fibers acceler- ating through the feed roll and entering the opening roller earlier than the remaining fiber strand. The second period of the BP fiber torque profile was characterized by a pronounced periodicity that almost replicated the period- icity shown in the no-load zone. In addition, the torque level was not horizontal, as in most fiber profiles. In- stead, it had an obvious nonlinear dip between the first peak and the second peak. Visual examination of the BP web after each run revealed an interesting change; the web suffered progres- sive clustering and increase in irregularity. This indicates that the work done to open the BP fibers was merely a result of opening the input web into fiber clusters rather than individual fibers. The presence of fiber clusters resulted in a web incoherence, which was not witnessed in other polyester and cotton fiber types. The 50%LF/50%BP blend had an initial steep rise in torque leading to a higher initial opening stiffness and higher maximum torque than the individual components. Following this initial trend, the blend was clearly biased to the LF cotton values. Recall that the BP fiber has fiber fineness of 105 millitex and mean fiber length of 1.07 inch and LF cotton has fiber fineness of 145 millitex and mean fiber length of 0.90 inch. This means that the 50%LF/50%BP by weight is actually 46%LF/54%BP by number. This clearly means that the bias of the blend to the LF fiber was not attributed to geometrical or quan- tity advantage of the LF fiber. Instead, the BP fibers failed to fully intermingle with the LF fiber leading to a torque profile largely reflecting the LF fiber propensity to opening.

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842 F IGURE 10. Average values of net torque and band width of LF/LP blend in

F IGURE 10. Average values of net torque and band width of LF/LP blend in subsequent rotor-ring runs.

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Figure 12 shows the mean torque and web width of the LF/BP blend in subsequent rotor-ring runs. As can be seen in this Figure, after the first rotor-ring run, succes- sive runs resulted in a continuous increase in torque and a continuous decrease in web width of the BP fiber. The mean torque of the 50%LF/50%BP blend was biased to the LF fiber in all successive runs. Meanwhile, the web width of the 50%LF/50%BP blend was biased to the BP fiber. The extent of meeting the additivity and linearity criteria of the LF/BP blend is demonstrated in Figure 13 for three of the torque parameters, namely: mean torque, torque slope and maximum torque. Again, the linear additive law was applied using the blend proportion by number as explained in Part II [3]. As can be seen in Figure 13, all torque parameters showed clear violation of the linear-additive rule. In light of the above discussion, it follows that when cotton fibers are blended with polyester fibers, surface incompatibility becomes a more serious issue than fiber dimensional characteristics. For example, the case of LF/LP blend discussed above clearly revealed that the high inter-fiber friction of the polyester fiber associated with high crimp resulted in fiber clustering and persis- tence of polyester fibers to stick together. Indeed, ap- pearance blending analysis showed persistent clusters of the LP component in the final fiber strand. The substan- tially higher torque variance of the LP component also supports this view. As a result, the mean torque was largely biased to the LF component indicating that most of the work done was consumed to individualize the fibers in the LF component. The LF/BP blend represented an exceptional case in which both additivity and linearity were violated. These trends were a result of a significant clustering effect that was evident by the web appearance and the high torque variance.

Closing Remarks

In this Part of the study, the focus was on the analysis of interactive blending. This mode of blending primarily reflects the propensity to opening and blending when fibers of the same type or of different types are intimately blended together. In theory, the process of fiber opening involves two main mechanisms: fiber cluster breakdown and fiber separation or individualization. These two mechanisms are typically activated in a simultaneous manner. Cluster break down is a result of consecutive series of opening in which larger fiber clusters, typically of the same type of fiber, are reduced to smaller ones. Fiber individualization is a fine opening process in which

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F IGURE 11. Torque profiles of the LF/BP blend (fifth RR run).

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11. Torque profiles of the LF/BP blend (fifth RR run). 843 the primary effects are fiber

the primary effects are fiber separation and reshuffling of individual fibers of different fiber types. The performance of these two mechanisms is largely determined by a number of factors some of which are machine-related and others are material-related factors. Machine-related factors include machine settings, and the number of consecutive operations. Material-related factors include fiber dimensional characteristics such as fiber length and fiber fineness, and fiber surface charac- teristics. The extent of failure of fiber cluster breakdown can be realized from the deviation of the mean torque blend profile from the linearity and additivity criteria. High torque variance in one of the components of the blend is also an indication of fiber clustering. Another way to determine the extent of cluster breakdown is through examining the mean torque and the width of the fiber web over a number of consecutive runs. A progressive reduction in the mean torque accompanied by an increase in the web width indicates a great deal of cluster break- down and fiber individualization. On the other hand, a dwelling effect or progressive increase in torque associ- ated with a reduction in web width implies failure of cluster breakdown. Among the parameters used to characterize interactive blending, the mean torque measured at the steady-state condition proved to be the most reliable measure. This is due its high reproducibility and its simulative nature of actual opening and blending operations. Other torque parameters such as maximum torque, initial slope, and torque variance are useful in revealing interactive blend-

ing problems such as failure of cluster breakdown and inconsistency in the blended fiber structure. Based on the results of this study, it was found that when cotton fibers of different types are blended to- gether, fiber length and fiber fineness can influence in- teractive blending in such a way that a great deal of the initial mechanical work done (opening stiffness) is con- sumed in opening and blending the longer and finer component in the blended fiber strand. Large difference in fiber length and fiber fineness (e.g. the case of LF/SC blend) can result in a nonadditive and nonlinear maxi- mum torque (or the torque required to initiate blending and opening). However, the surface and crimp compat- ibility of cotton fiber blends result in an additive and linear mean torque. This means that blending of cotton fibers of different types is largely governed by the fiber separation mechanism. Obviously, exceptions to these findings should be expected if one or more of the cotton components in the blend exhibit abnormal surface char- acteristics such as fiber stickiness or high variation in wax percent [5]. When cotton fibers are blended with polyester fibers, surface incompatibility becomes a more serious issue than fiber dimensional characteristics. For example, the case of LF/LP blend discussed in this paper clearly revealed that the high inter-fiber friction of the polyester fiber associated with high crimp resulted in fiber cluster- ing and persistence of polyester fibers to stick together. Indeed, appearance blending analysis showed persistent clusters of the LP component in the final fiber strand. The substantially higher torque variance of the LP component

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844 F IGURE 12. Mean torque and band width of LF/BP blend in subsequent rotor-ring runs.

FIGURE 12. Mean torque and band width of LF/BP blend in subsequent rotor-ring runs.

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in subsequent rotor-ring runs. T EXTILE R ESEARCH J OURNAL F IGURE 13. Linearity and additivity

FIGURE 13. Linearity and additivity of different torque parameters of the BP/LF polyester/cotton blend.

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DECEMBER 2005

also supports this view. As a result, the mean torque was largely biased to the LF component indicating that most of the work done was consumed to individualize the fibers in the LF component. The LF/BP blend represented an exceptional case in which both additivity and linearity were violated. These trends were a result of a significant clustering effect that was evident by the web appearance and the high torque variance.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

The authors of this series of papers would like to thank the National Textile Center (http://www.ntcresearch. org/) for sponsoring this research over a period of three consecutive years. A cosponsor of this research was Cotton Incorporated of the U.S.A. (http://www.cottoninc. com), which sponsored this research both financially and by providing many useful guidelines. We specifically thank Mr Charles H. Chewning, Jr, Mr J. Berrye Wor- sham, III, and Dr Preston E. Sasser of Cotton Incorpo- rated for their great support. We would also like to thank Welman Inc. and Dr Subhas Gosh of the University of Eastern Michigan (Former Research Director of ITT) for providing the specially made polyester fibers used in this study. Last, but certainly not least we would like to thank Dr Radhakrishnaiah Parachuru of Georgia Tech and Dr Royal Broughton, Jr. of Auburn University for their support and guidance in this study.

Literature Cited

1. El Mogahzy, Y. E., An Integrated Approach to the Anal- ysis of Multi-Component Fiber Blending. Part I: Analytical Aspects, Textile Res. J. 74 (8), 701–712 (2004).

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