The influence of yarn production and processing variables on loop distortion in plain knit fabrics
After reviewing past work into the geometry of the symmetrical idealised plain knit loop, an account is given of the present knowledge of loop distortion, which represents one of the major problem areas of the knitting industry. The shortcomings of this knowledge are shown to be that, although a large number of processing variables have been demonstrated to be associated with loop distortion, there have been no systematic studies of the defect and there have been virtually no attempts to explain it in terms of fundamental physical characteristics of the yarn. Eleven yarn production and processing variables are examined within the framework of factorially designed experiments. The influence of these independent variables is statistically related both to ranked levels of loop distortion and to values of yarn physical characteristics. The two latter groups of data are also inter-related by rank correlation. It is shown that loop distortion is dependent upon at least three yarn characteristics which, in turn, are dependent upon particular production and processing variables. These three are yarn bending hysteresis, bending rigidity, and count regularity. The greater propensity for wool to distort in comparison to acrylic is explained in relation to these characteristics, and to their different changes during processes such as steam setting and package dyeing. The work is finally reviewed both from the point of view of the manufacturer, who wishes to be able to predict the likelihood that a particular yarn will cause distortion, and the textile technologist who is not only interested in choosing the optimum yarn production conditions for minimum distortion, but would like to improve the fabric appearance by changes or additions to established production routes.