Cotton Fibres: Characteristics, Uses and Performance


Stuart Gordon, PhD – Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Geelong, VIC Australia
Noureddine Abidi, PhD – Professor and Director, Fiber and Biopolymer Research Institute, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX, USA

Series: Agricultural Issues and Policies
BISAC: TEC003030

Cotton’s importance as a crop and as a textile fibre is still significant. However, its importance has been and will continue to be seriously challenged by the growth in consumption of man-made fibre, particularly polyester.

This book is divided into three parts. The first part, covering seven chapters, describes the chemical and physical properties of cotton fibre. These chapters focus on the differences between cotton and polyester fibre properties, and highlight areas researchers will need to pursue to keep cotton competitive. Two lesser discussed properties receive attention: Cotton fibre’s wax layer and cotton cellulose’s glass transition temperature. The hydrophobic wax layer that protects cotton during mechanical processing and aids the dispersal of its seed by water, has been central in the development of the spinning technology used by cotton and polyester fibre alike. The wax provides lubrication between the fibre surface and the processing surfaces during opening, carding and spinning. The chapter on cotton cellulose’s glass transition temperature introduces the less appreciated concept that cotton’s cellulose can be plasticized at particular temperatures and moisture contents, wherein cotton’s mechanical properties, e.g. elongation to break, can be improved. The range of fibre property values and the variation found in cotton stand as markers for future researchers to improve by way of plant and crop management, breeding (including genetic modification), and chemical processing. Long standing objectives include longer, stronger and finer fibre, which all translate to better looking and performing yarn and fabric. However, properties that give cotton fabric improved resilience, drape and dyed-colour appearance also stand as objectives to improve cotton’s competitiveness.

The second part of the book introduces uses of cotton that are less considered; cotton nonwovens, bandages impregnated with natural anti-microbial agents and cellulose aerogels are products with excellent potential, and deserve further research and development. Standard textile products are not discussed in this section. These are discussed in the third and final part of the book. The final four chapters focus on the current performance of cotton in different apparel and home furnishing markets, in the commodity marketplace, and in spinning and dyeing. These final chapters point to a challenging future for cotton if the industry and its researchers curtail their pursuit of better crop productivity, fibre quality, processing technology and product development. (Imprint: Nova)

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Part I – Cotton Fibre Characteristics

Chapter 1. Chemical, Compositional and Structural Characterisation of Cotton Fibres
Yongliang Liu (United States Department of Agriculture, New Orleans, LA, USA)

Chapter 2. Cotton Fibre Wax and Surface Properties
Jeffrey Church and Andrea Woodhead (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Geelong, Australia)

Chapter 3. The Glass Transition of Cotton
Mickey Huson and Chantal Denham (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Geelong, VIC, Australia)

Chapter 4. Cotton Fibre Cross-Section Properties
Stuart Gordon (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Geelong, VIC Australia, and James Rodgers, United States Department of Agriculture, New Orleans, LA, USA)

Chapter 5. Cotton Fibre Length
Axel Drieling, Faserinstitut Bremen e.V. (Bremen, Germany)

Chapter 6. Cotton Fibre Tensile Properties
Wafa Mahjoub, Omar Harzallah and Jean-Yves Drean (Université de Haute Alsace, Mulhouse, France)

Chapter 7. Cotton Appearance
Marinus H. J. van der Sluijs (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Organisation, Geelong, VIC, Australia)

Part II – Uses of Cotton Fibre

Chapter 8. Cotton Use in Modern Nonwovens
Amar Paul Singh Sawhney (United States Department of Agriculture (retired), New Orleans, LA, USA)

Chapter 9. High Pressure Modified Cotton in Wound Dressing Applications
Stoja Milovanovic, Maja Radetic, Dusan Misic, Jelena Asanin, Vesna Leontijevic, Jasna Ivanovic, and Irena Zizovica (University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia)

Chapter 10. Cellulose Aerogels: Preparation, Characterization and Applications
Rohan S. Dassanayake and Noureddine Abidi (Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX, USA)

Part III – The Performance of Cotton Fibre

Chapter 11. Cotton Uses and Performance in the Textile Market
Mourad Krifa (University of Texas, Austin, TX, USA)

Chapter 12. Threats to Cotton’s Place in the World Fibre Market: Prices, Performance and Demonization
Terry P. Townsend (Cotton Analytics, Houston, TX, USA)

Chapter 13. Cotton Fibre Spinning
Urs Meyer (ETH Zurich (retired), Niederglatt, Switzerland)

Chapter 14. Dyeing of Cotton Fabric
Noureddine Abidi (Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX, USA)

Editor Contact Information



“The authors of Cotton: Characteristics, Uses and Performance are to be commended on successfully summarizing all the available technical knowledge on cotton fibre to create the latest go to reference book. For CRDC, as an investor in more than 2,000 cotton research projects, it is both critical and enabling for the future of the sector that nearly three centuries of fibre knowledge has been captured.” – Bruce Finney, Executive Director, Cotton Research and Development Corporation, Narrabri

“The history of cotton is inextricably conjoined with technology. It became the preeminent industrial raw material for textiles because it was amenable to the mass production technologies of the industrial revolution. In addition to its superior performance in processing, it was the only natural fiber that could be supplied in quantities sufficient to serve the needs of mass production. While it is no longer possible to provide adequate supplies of cotton to serve all the fiber demands of the 21st century, the unique properties of cotton should enable its continued status as a major fiber. The chemical and physical characteristics of the fibers, along with the purity of the cotton cellulose, make cotton a prime prospect for further technological breakthroughs. This book provides needed insight about the properties and how these may be exploited to help secure cotton’s future.” – Dean Ethridge, Research Professor, Texas Tech University, Fiber and Biopolymer Research Institute, Lubbock, Texas

“Currently, synthetic fibers pose the biggest challenge to cotton use and thus to cotton production affecting the livelihood of many millions of small and large-scale cotton producers across continents. Undoubtedly, cotton has its intrinsic value due to its inherent fiber quality characteristics some of which are not even well understood until today. While some of the quality characteristics, though known well, are underutilized there is a need to identify new measurable characteristics of the most used natural fiber in the world. This book carries a wealth of information about cotton fibers’ chemical and physical characteristics. Now cotton is produced with much lower use of insecticides than it was produced over two decades ago. Efforts are underway to minimize the use of other major inputs like fertilizers and irrigation and it is certainly achievable. New technologies including biotechnological approaches have accelerated the process to fix specific targets and achieve them within the shortest time. But, information and sharing are critical to meet such goals. This book is certainly a step forward in the same direction. I very much appreciate the work of Dr. Stuart Gordon and Dr. Noureddine Abidi, whom I have known for many years, the addition of this compendium of knowledge for the current and future researchers in the field of fiber technology.” – Dr. M. Rafiq Chaudhry, Head Technical Information Section, International Cotton Advisory Committee

Additional Information

· Cotton and textiles industries
· Universities, Crop Science, Textile Science, Fiber Science

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