Sunday, June 5, 2011

Nano and Micro Silicone softeners – how to differentiate?

The processing of textiles to achieve a particular handle is one of the most important aspects of finishing technology. Softeners are one of the main compounds in finishing process and can improve some properties of textiles, depending on the chemical nature, including soft handle, smoothness, elasticity, hydrophilic, antistatic and soil release properties. They are classified according to their ionic character and the main classes are: anionic, cationic, nonionic, amphoteric, reactive and silicone. Macro- and micro-emulsion silicone softeners are commercial classes of softeners but nano-emulsions are new class of softeners in textile industry. The purpose of this research was to study the effect of micro and nano-silicone softeners on different properties of polyester fiber.

Polyester fabrics were first scoured with nonionic detergent and were then treated with three concentrations (10, 20 and 30 gr/lit) of micro and nano-emulsions of silicones. The drape length of treated samples with 10 gr/lit of solution was decreased and more decrease was observed with increase in silicone concentration. Colorimetric properties of softener treated fabrics were evaluated with a reflectance spectrophotometer. Nano-emulsion silicones changed a little the surface reflectance of fibers compared to micro-silicone softener. Increase in weight of all samples was observed which shows the coating of silicones on fiber surface. Nano-emulsion silicones showed better results on samples treated compared to micro-emulsion silicones.

  1. The abrasion resistance of nano-silicone treated fabric will be more than that of micro-silicone softener treated fabric.
  2. Anti-pilling effect will also be more when compared against micro emulsion treated fabrics.
  3. Under powerful micro-scope one can see, micro emulsions will found to form surface coating on fibre more than that of nano-emulsions, that will penetrate more to the core of fibre than that of micro emulsions.
However, I do agree, that there should be some simple test to differentiate between nano and micro silicone softeners. If anybody knows well, they can share the message in this plat form.