The protein structures of wool, treated in fabric form with ultrasonics for different time durations, were analysed by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR), in comparison with the wool without ultrasonic treatment. Fabric water absorption and tensile properties were measured in addition to the fibre micro-structure analysis. It is shown that while the ultrasonic treatment had little effect on the fibre crystallinity, some chemical structures in the protein were altered to some extent during the process. Disruption of fibre internal waxy lipids upon ultrasonic treatment provided the fibres with increased water absorption. Protein chains in the macro fibrils were shown to be rearranged to a more regular and less flexible structure, as a result of the ultrasonic treatment. Fabric tensile tests showed an increased tenacity and a reduced extensibility to the ultrasonically treated fabric. Prolonged ultrasonic treatment, however, significantly reduced both fabric tenacity and extensibility.
Field of Research
020301 Acoustics and Acoustical Devices 091012 Textile Technology