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Title: The development of paper-based materials from low-grade apparel waste
Author: Ryder, Kathryn
ISNI:       0000 0004 5364 2779
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2014
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The recycling rate of post-consumer apparel waste is low. This is compounded by our limited understanding of the fibre recovered from apparel waste and a lack of development in novel applications. Motivated by the growing rate of accumulation in unwanted clothing, this study focused on a number of integrated research themes aimed at understanding the nature of reclaimed cotton fibre, its use in paper-based materials and its utilisation in apparel related applications. Initially, the investigation characterised reclaimed cotton fibres from two different recovery machines (pinned air-layer and cutting mill). The results showed that neither process was capable of producing adequate fibre quality for fine yarn manufacture. The fibres exhibited extensive surface damage, length shortening and an increase in length distribution. After the initial characterisation, studies were undertaken to investigate the use of paper technology to increase the possibility of using reclaimed fibre in apparel. Strength is an important property in apparel related applications, therefore, the strength of reclaimed cotton-based paper was enhanced. The effects of a 4% sodium hydroxide pre-treatment on the beating performance and resultant sheet properties of reclaimed fibre pulp were investigated. At low beating levels, the results showed a significant 35% and 39% increase in tensile strength and energy absorption, respectively. With the treatment it is, therefore, possible to obtain a strong paper with high bulk, which can be further utilised to improve surface softness. Optimum dry and wet strength enhancement of the resultant paper was obtained with the combined addition of 1% carboxymethyl cellulose and 2% polyamideamine-epichlorhydrin. The development of wet strength was vital in order to facilitate uniform twist insertion in subsequent paper yarn manufacture. This study was one of the first to test the viability of using reclaimed cotton fibre in the production of paper yarns suitable for apparel manufacture. The wet-strengthened reclaimed-fibre paper was slit into 3 mm width ribbons, dampened, then twisted into yarns. The resultant yarns (46–193 tex) were uniform but lacked sufficient strength for use in weaving and knitting processes. Analysis of a commercial paper yarn, OJO+ , suggested that strength could be improved if fibre orientation was increased in the machine direction. A further application, in the form of a jacket, was trialled. The focus here was to test sewability using a variety of seam and stitch formations to sew together denim-derived cotton paper. A simple design using lap seams with straight stitching was established as the most effective construction. The final jacket satisfied industry requirements on seam strength and efficiency, however, further investigation into improving comfort and wear-ability will be essential.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Clothworkers Foundation
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: post-consumer apparel recycling ; reclaimed fibre ; paper yarn