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Changes in fiber after mercerizing
Oct 13, 2018

1. Morphological Structur  

With the increase of fiber diameter, the longitudinal natural twist rate changes (80%-14.5%), the cross section changes from waist to ellipse, even circular, and the cell cavity shrinks to a point. If the appropriate tension is applied, the roundness of the fiber increases, the original wrinkles on the surface disappear, the smoothness of the surface, and the optical properties are improved. More directional reflection increases the intensity of reflected light, and the fabric shows a silk luster.
The change of fiber morphology in fabric is the main reason to produce gloss, and tension is the main factor to enhance gloss. 


2. Microstructures  

The crystallinity↓(70%-50%) and the amorphous region↑ make the hydroxyl group which is unattainable in water become available. Therefore, the adsorption and chemical reactivity of the fiber to dyes are improved. In addition, due to the change of fiber morphology after mercerization, the light scattering on the surface and inside of the fiber is reduced, so the dyeing depth of the same concentration dyes is increased. The degree is also increasing.
After fiber swelling, the hydrogen bonds between the macromolecules are dismantled. Under the action of tension, the arrangement of macromolecules tends to be neat and the degree of orientation is improved. At the same time, the uneven deformation of the fiber surface is eliminated and the weak links are reduced. The fiber can share the external force evenly, thereby reducing the fracture caused by stress concentration. Additionally, the expansion and rearrangement of the fibers adhere to each other closely, and the cohesive force reduces the factors that cause the breakage due to the slip of macromolecules.

3. Changes in molecular structure

After swelling in concentrated alkaline solution, the hydrogen bonds between the macromolecular chains are dismantled, which relaxes the internal stress stored in the fabric. By stretching, the macromolecules are aligned and a new molecular bond is established in the new position, and the intermolecular force is larger than that before swelling. Finally, after alkali removal under tension, the hydrogen bonds between the aligned fibers are fixed (in a more natural, stable state), and the fibers are in a lower energy state, so the size is stable.

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