Purpose – To develop a method based on urea/microwave treatment for improving the dyeability of the flax fibre. Design/methodology/approach – The treatment was carried out under a variety of conditions in terms of the power of the microwave, the time of microwave treatment and the use of urea in the treatment solution. The physical chemical properties of the treated flax fibres were characterised using a variety of techniques including scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X‐ray diffractometry, spectrophotometric measurement and tensile measurement. Findings – It was found that the treated flax fibres had significantly improved dyeability. The causes to the improvement of the dyeability of the flax fibre were found to be the increased absorption of dye on the fibre and the increased reaction probability between the dye and the fibre. The procedure for optimum modification appeared to be soaking the flax fabrics in 10 per cent urea solution; treating the fabrics with microwave at 350 W for 2.5 minutes; and treating the fabrics with microwave at 700 W for one minute. Practical implications – The treatment method developed addressed a problem of great concern in textile coloration, i.e. poor dyeability of flax fibre. The method developed provided a practical and effective solution to such a problem. Originality/value – The method of treatment of flax fibre, involving soaking in urea and baking in microwave, for the improvement of dyeability was novel. The method could be adapted for use in industrial scale flax dyeing with satisfactory levels of exhaustion and fixation.
Pigment & Resin Technology – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 1, 2005
Keywords: Flax; Fibre testing; Microwaves; Dyes
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