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An Ultraviolet Grafting Technique for Cotton Fabric Finishes

Leslie A. White


Graft polymerization of finishing polymers onto cotton substrates is a potential route by which the problem of durability of flame retardant textile finishes could be overcome. This work reports initial results in the development of a method for grafting polymers to cotton fabric by ultraviolet radiation. Photolytic grafting is limited by the depth of ultraviolet penetration into the substrate and, in this application, ideally results in the polymer chains of the finish being on the surface of the textile. Photosensitized print cloth was grafted with poly (methyl methacrylate) as the finishing polymer. Grafting onto the textile surface has been confirmed by solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and attenuated total reflectance infrared spectroscopy. Standard strength tests on the print cloth indicate that a moderate loss in tear strength results from the loss of molecular weight due to the photosensitizing treatment, but this loss in strength is overcome by the grafting/finishing reaction due to entanglement of the polymer chains on the surface of the cloth.

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Document last modified 04/27/04