Date of this Version
Published in Cellulose 20 (2013), pp. 2163–2174; doi: 10.1007/s10570-013-9956-9
Two plant proteins, soyprotein and wheat gluten, and chicken feathers used to size cotton substrates provided sizing performance similar to starch and were also easily degraded in activated sludge. Sizing is an essential process to impart protection to warp yarns and increase weaving efficiency. Cotton yarns have traditionally been sized with starch, modified starch derivatives, CMC, poly vinyl alcohol (PVA), or a combination thereof along with quite a few other fiber binding ingredients. Although starch and starch derivatives are extensively used for sizing, there can be several limitations including less-than-satisfactory sizing performance and difficulties in desizing starch based size. Plant proteins such as wheat gluten, soyproteins and poultry feathers are available in large quantities at low cost and have limited industrial applications. However, these proteins are known to have excellent film-forming properties, a primary requirement for a warp size, and have also been used as adhesives. Using proteins as warp sizing agents on cotton yarns potentially could provide acceptable sizing performance and be cost-effective, as well. In this research, soyproteins, wheat gluten, and chicken feathers were studied for exploring their feasibility for sizing, desizing, biodegradability, and ability to replace starch and PVA for sizing cotton yarns. It was found that all three proteins provided similar cohesion to fibers and abrasion resistance compared to starch. Protein sizes had significantly high BOD5/COD ratio compared to PVA, suggesting that the proteins are easily degradable in textile effluent treatment plants.