Ironing Out Cotton Wrinkles Without An Iron

March 23, 1999

New finish for cotton fabric now under commercial development

ANAHEIM, Calif., March 22 -- Wrinkle-free cotton clothing made with a new and environmentally friendly method will soon be on the market, according to Charles Q. Yang of the Department of Textiles at the University of Georgia, Athens. He described his research here today at a national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

While the market-place demand for durable press finishes used on today's 100 percent cotton apparel continues to increase, the formaldehyde-based reagents that are now used to create them have caused world-wide concern about their impact on human health and the environment, Yang says.

Previously, one of the more effective formaldehyde replacements was an organic acid called butanetetracarboxylic acid (BTCA). But the exceedingly high cost of BCTA prevented its applications on a commercial scale.

Drawing on the BCTA technology, Yang found that citric acid, while not effective itself, could be combined with two different polymers of maleic acid in a manner that would efficiently cross-link the cellulose fibers in cotton fabrics. The results of this synergistic action, Yang states, is a cotton fabric with demonstrated superior durable press performance, good laundering durability, and high fabric strength retention. Because this new finish system is cost effective, it has become attractive as a formaldehyde replacement and is now under commercial development.
Dr. Yang will present this paper, CELL 26, on Monday, March 22, at 3:15 p.m., in the West Coast Hotel, Palm East Room.

A nonprofit organization with a membership of nearly 159,000 chemists and chemical engineers, the American Chemical Society publishes scientific journals and databases, convenes major research conferences, and provides educational, science policy and career programs in chemistry. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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