Properties and characteristics of polypropylene fibers spun by the phase-separation technique

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

A spinning apparatus was built for the investigation of the phase-separation technique as applied to the production of polypropylene fibers from naphthalene solutions. The solutions were spun through a single 2.00 millimeter spinneret at compositions of 15 and 22 per cent polymer and at temperatures of 145 and 160°C. Linear velocities in the spinneret and draw ratios ranged from 0.125 to 0.277 meters per minute and from 759 to 2198, respectively.

It was found that naphthalene could be extracted from the fibers by diethyl ether in less than one minute; however, this extraction was not necessary prior to properties testing because all of the naphthalene in the fibers exposed to air was lost by sublimation.

Deniers of 14 selected fiber samples varied inversely with draw ratio and directly with solution composition in a range from 2.5 to 8.0. After the samples were cold-drawn 3:1, tests with a Scott Tensilgraph showed that tenacities, per cent elongations at break, and secant moduli varied directly with draw ratio in ranges from 0.9 to 1.6 grams per denier, from 50 to 150 per cent, and from 17 to 30 grams per denier, respectively. Per cent elongations at break also varied directly with solution composition.

The fibers, in general, exhibited good hand, bulk, tangling, and self-crimping characteristics. Photographs of four of the fiber samples were made to show the tangling and crimp qualities.