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A Study on Damage to PLA Knitted Fabrics During Scouring and Bleaching

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Ingeo® PLA (polylactic acid) knitted fabric was scoured through an exhaust technique. The scouring was carried out with sodium carbonate in the presence of a detergent at various concentrations and temperatures. The scoured fabric was bleached with various oxidative bleaching agents. Bleaching was carried out with hydrogen peroxide, sodium chlorite and sodium hypochlorite. Hydrogen peroxide was applied by exhaust and cold pad batch (CPB) techniques. It was observed that during scouring PLA fabric was degraded at high alkali concentrations and processing temperatures. The scouring temperature above 60ºC proved to be deleterious due to the scouring solution penetrating into the polymer structure and damaged the fiber. Sodium chlorite and sodium hypochlorite caused little damage to the mechanical properties of PLA. Hydrogen peroxide when applied by the CPB technique did not reduce strength appreciably but when applied by the exhaust technique decreased the strength significantly. SEM analysis revealed that hydrogen peroxide caused holes and slit formation in the fiber structure.

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Industrial Chemistry, Biotechnology, Chemical Engineering, Process Engineering