Anti-felting behaviour of wool fibre with the plasma-enhanced polymer film deposition process was studied in this paper. Wool fibre was treated with nitrogen plasma or chlorination and then followed by polymer film deposition process. The anti-felting properties of wool fibre were assessed by felting ball test. The experimental results showed that plasma treatment could itself achieve the best anti-felting effect but the hand feel was adversely affected. With the deposition of the polymer film on the fibre surface, the anti- felting properties were retained with an acceptable hand feel. The surface properties of the chlorinated and plasma-treated wool fibre were evaluated through various methods such as contact angle measurement with different solvents and the results showed that the contact angles were also reduced implying the fibre surface was become more hydrophilic. The scanning electron microscopy pictures showed that the surface appearances of chlorinated wool fibre and plasma-treated wool fibre were different. A relatively rougher surface was observed for the plasma-treated wool fibre than chlorinated wool fibre. In addition, the XPS analysis revealed that the oxygen content of both chlorinated and plasma-treated wool fibres were increased which might improve the hydrophilicity of the wool fibres. When the two surface treatments were compared, the plasma treatment could alter significantly both physical and chemical surface structure while the chlorination could alter obviously the surface chemical composition. As a conclusion, the improved hydrophilicity on wool fibre surface by nitrogen plasma could enhance a better polymer film on the wool fibre surface when compared with chlorination process for improving the anti-felting properties of wool.
wool fibre; plasma; chlorination; anti-felting; surface; contact angle
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