MadSci Network: Engineering

Re: Why does spinning cotton fiber make it stronger?

Date: Thu Apr 26 02:52:17 2012
Posted By: Werner Sieber, Research Scientist,
Area of science: Engineering
ID: 1328170745.Eg

Hi Kunal

Facts about Cotton can be found here:

The individual fibers (staples) are thus only 20 micrometers thick and at 
most 6 centimeters long. Due to their crystalline structure, these are 
intrinsically very strong (in terms of load divided by cross section). 
Spinning involves aligning many staples side by side, with lengths 
overlapping, so that a continuous thread (yarn) can be formed. The 
strength of the thread relies on the intimate lateral contact among the 
staples, which adhere to each other by dipole and van-der-Waals forces. 
Cotton consists of nearly pure Cellulose, whose molecules contain many 
polar (hydroxyl) groups, which contribute to the adhesion between fibers. 
Spinning involves twisting of the bundle of fibers. This helps to 
bring the fibers into intimate contact and prevents them from gliding 
along each other lengthwise if the yarn is subjected to tension, since in 
a twisted bundle, the applied force no longer acts parallel to the 
staples, but at an angle.

Best regards
Werner Sieber  

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