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Title: Investigation into the potential re-use of waste cotton textile garments through Lyocell processing technology (ReCell)
Author: Haule, Liberato
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2013
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This project investigated the potential for the regeneration of fibres from cotton-based waste garments. The project focused on the preparation of the cotton waste pulps and assessed the suitability of the prepared material for regeneration of ReCell fibres. Mechanical processes have been developed to degrade the fabrics into a fibrous pulp potentially allowing easier fibre dissolution and purification in the fibre regeneration processes. Wet degradation and dry degradation methods were evaluated and the optimal method identified. It was established that the wet deconstruction method could produce fibres with longer length and lesser degradation of the cellulose than the dry deconstruction method. The pulp produced by wet deconstruction methods could be formed into sheets which were stronger than the pulp produced by the dry deconstruction methods. Although the cotton pulp reclaimed by the wet deconstruction methods requires extra energy to dry, it is still the most attractive processing route since the pulp will be transported to the fibre spinning plant in the form of dry cellulosic sheets. Methods for stripping off the easy care finishes in order to increase dissolution of the cellulosic garments were optimised. The stripping performance was assessed by fibre degradation, contents of the easy care finishes, and solubility of the stripped fibres in selected solvents. It was established that a combination of acidic and alkaline treatment can effect the removal of all easy care finishes and enable efficient dissolution of the pulps for fibre making. ReCell fibres were produced from 100% reclaimed material and a blend of reclaimed cotton pulp and wood pulp and structural and mechanical properties were characterised and compared to the existing Lyocell fibres. It was established that for easy separation of non-cellulosic material from the cellulose-based waste garment pulp the fibres must be modified to avoid formation of tufts. Fibre enrichment by gravity separation was recommended as a pre-requisite process prior to wet cyclone separation and the optimisation of the process was recommended for future work. ReCell processing of dyed waste garments, fibre spinning, fabric construction and wet processing of ReCell fibres have been recommended for future work. The results from this project will be used for pilot tests and later commercial production of ReCell fibres by Lenzing Company. Commercial production of ReCell fibres will contribute to the reduction of economic and environmental challenges caused by textile wastes. Moreover, the findings have identified a potential reduction of pressure on raw material for fibre production by providing an alternative source of material for regeneration of cellulosic fibres.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: recycling ; cotton ; cellulose ; easy care