In wool dyeing and finishing processes, fabric is often treated under conditions of different pHs and is subjected to a variety of physical and chemical environments. This work investigates fabric tensile properties at three different fabric pHs. Wool fabric extensibility under a 5 N/cm load was observed to be greatest at the wool isoelectric point of pH 4.8 and lower at both pH 2.1 and pH 7.2. The impact of pH on fabric extensibility was found to be similar to the variation in fabric hygral expansion previously observed. Fabric stress–strain curves at different pHs showed that for a given fabric extension level, the work required to stretch a fabric was less at pH 2.1 than at pH 4.8. These results suggest that the strength of wool fabric is at maximum when the pH of the fibres is close to the wool isoelectric point and that for consistency, the pH of fabric should be adjusted before standard strength tests are carried out.
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