Liquid transport mechanisms in cotton-polypropylene laminated nonwoven fabrics influencing pesticide penetration

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Virginia Tech


The purpose of this research was to investigate and compare the liquid transport properties of cotton nonwoven laminates of varying cotton/polypropylene fiber content (80:20, 60:40, 40:60, by weight) with a 100% polypropylene fabric and a 100% polyethylene fabric. Capillary, pressure and impact penetration mechanisms were investigated as well as other measures of fabric wetting, wicking, and liquid retention. A water/surfactant solution of surface tension close to that of the pesticide solution was used in some tests to determine whether it could be used to simulate liquid transport characteristics of the pesticide solution. The effect of volume on capillary and pressure penetration was also evaluated.

Results indicated that the 100% polyethylene fabric offered the greatest resistance to all three penetration methods. The 80:20 cotton:polypropylene fabric, exhibited significantly greater amounts of penetration than the other fabrics in capillary penetration. There was no significant difference in the penetration values of the 100% polypropylene and the cotton laminates in the pressure penetration of the water/surfactant. There were no significant differences in the impact penetration values of the cotton laminates, but the 100% polypropylene exhibited significantly lower amounts of impact penetration than the cotton laminates. Pressure penetration was found to result in the most severe form of penetration.

A high degree of correlation was obtained between penetration by the pesticide and penetration by the water/surfactant solution, whose surface tension was close to that of the pesticide solution. A higher retention of the pesticide resulted in lesser amounts of penetration of the pesticide solution. However, in the case of retention of water/surfactant, it was found that even though there were no significant differences in the retention values of the water/surfactant, there were significant differences in the penetration values of the water/surfactant. Surface tension of the solution was found to have an effect on the wetting and wicking responses of the fabrics, which affected the amount of capillary penetration. Increasing volume resulted in an increase in the amount of penetration that took place.