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What are the properties of cotton?

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Physical Properties:
• Length: Cotton fibers are staple or short length fibers with an average length ranging from 0.5-2.5 inches.
• Diameter: The fineness of cotton fibers accounts for 12-20 micrometer and thus the length of cotton fiber is 1-3 thousand times its diameter.
• Colour and Lustre: The cotton fibers are dull since the presence of convolutions on the surface of cotton fiber scatters the incident light on reflection. The colour of cotton fiber ranges from white to yellow and grey. Thus, the process of mercerisation may be carried out in order to give cotton that much-needed lustre.
• Tenacity: The values of strength of cotton fabric vary from 3.0-5.0g/d indicating moderate strength however the strength of cotton increases almost by 20% when wet.
• Elongation and Resiliency: The elastic recovery of cotton fabric is poor i.e. the fabric does not return to its original length when being stretched with about 3-7% elongation at break. In addition, the cotton fabric has poor resistance to creases and folds (resiliency).
• Density: 1.54g/ is the density of cotton fiber which is more than flax and less than wool and silk.
• Moisture regain: Cotton fibers have moisture regain of 7-10%.

Chemical Properties:
• Acids: Cotton fibers are damaged when coming in contact with acids although organic acids do not cause much harm as compared to mineral acids. Hot dilute and strong acids disintegrate the fiber.
• Alkalis: Cotton fibers are highly resistant to alkalis and so detergents that contain alkali can be used for washing the clothes.
• Organic Solvents: High resistance towards organic solvent is exhibited by cotton fibers and so can be dry cleaned.

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