Chemical finishing in textile: An Introduction !

Textile wet processing can be thought of having three stages, pretreatment, coloration and finishing. Finishing in the narrow sense is the final step in the fabric manufacturing process, the last chance to provide the properties that consumers will value.

Chemical finishing in textile involves the addition of chemicals to textile to achieve desired result. Typically, the appearance of fabric remains unchanged after chemical finishing. But Mechanical or Dry finish uses mainly physical means to change fabric properties and usually alters the fabric appearance as well. Mechanical finishing includes calendering, emersing, compressive shrinkage, raising, brushing, shearing etc. Often mechanical and chemical finishing overlap. Some mechanical finishes need chemical application. So, chemical finish plays an important role in textile finishing field.

In this article, we will briefly discuss about chemical finishing.

General requirements of chemical finishing in textile

Primary effects of finishes

  • High effect level at low cost for products and application

  • Possible effect design, adaptation to consumer wishes, article demands and favoured use

Desired secondary effect

  • Usable for all kind of fibers and textile forms, as yarn, woven or knit garment, non-woven

  • High performance for washing and dry cleaning of garments and most household chores

  • No loss of important textile qualities such as tear strength and abrasion resistance, comfort, appearance, hand

  • No yellowing of undyed fabrics, no shade change of colored ones, no reduced color fastness

  • Easy and safe handling, non-flammable

  • Simple application, preferably with several standard methods and equipment at low cost

  • High stability under storage and application conditions (temperature, pH, mechanical stress)

  • Even distribution, either on the fiber or fabric surface or inside the fabric

  • Compatibility with other finishes

  • Synergistic effects, no reduction of effect of other finishes

  • Easy correction of finishing faults such as removal of finish or stains

  • No environmental problems, non-toxic, bio-degradable, no volatile organic compounds

Importance of chemical finishing in textile

  • Chemical finishing in textile has always been an important fact but the recent trend to “High Tech” product adds a great popularity to it.
  • As the use of high performance textiles has grown, the need for chemical finishes to provide the fabric properties required in these special application has grown accordingly
  • It is estimated that globally in one year, the amount of textile chemical auxiliaries sold and used is one-tenth of the world’s fiber production
  • About 6 million tons of chemicals are consumed for 60 million tons of fiber
  • About 40% of textile auxiliaries are used in finishing, the largest percentage usage of all textile chemicals, followed by dyeing and printing auxiliaries and pretreatment chemicals.
  • Within the textile finishing group, the product breakdown, based on TEGEWA, is given as a survey in the following table.
  • In terms of value, the repellent group is the leader with the highest ratio of cost per amount.
  • This reflects the relatively high cost of the fluorochemical subgroup of repellents.

Importance of the finishing product groups in order

Value importance

Finishing product group

Value%

Amount%

Euro/kg

1

Soft handle products based on: silicones, including elastomeric, cationics, non-ionics, without silicones anionics

19.9

22.1

2.10

2

Repellents based on: Fluorocarbons, paraffins, silicones

15.2

4.1

8.50

3

Flame retardants

13.9

13.9

2.30

4

Products for coating, laminating, fiber and thread bonding

13.8

18.4

1.70

5

Products for easy care and permanent press finishes

7.9

13.5

1.30

6

Hand builders

7.0

10.0

1.60

7

Antimicrobial products, including protection from germs

1.9

0.3

14.20

8

Antistatic agents including carpet finishing

1.8

2.3

1.80

9

Non-slip agents

1.2

1.4

2.00

10

Products for soil-release, remainder, including brighteners, products for sewing thread preparation, anti-felting of wool, carpet back-coating, hydrophilation, delustering and brightening, foaming of finishes

0.04

0.01

6.70

Different types of chemical finishing in textile

  • Mercerizing
  • Parchmentizing
  • Flame Retardency finish
  • Water Repellency finish https://www.britannica.com/topic/water-repellent-fabric
  • Silicon treatment for hydrophobic effect
  • Fluoro chemicals for soil release & soil resistance
  • Softening
  • Certain phosphorous & nitrogen compounds for flame retardant
  • Hydrophilation
  • Foaming finish
  • Finish with non-slip agents
  • Wrinkle free or crease resistant finish
  • Anti-microbial finish
  • Anti-static finish

Chemical finishing, an important field for textile finishing covers a broad market share. In our subsequent articles, we will know more about it.

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