Synergising surface modification and soil suspension for fabric cleaning efficacy


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Valentini, Alessandra (2021). Synergising surface modification and soil suspension for fabric cleaning efficacy. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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There is a widespread interest in finding efficient ways to deliver cleaning on synthetic fabrics (eg. polyester), particularly in challenging laundry conditions that use low washing temperature and short rinse cycle.

This study advances understanding of using soil release polymers (SRPs) to modify polyester and cotton surface and deliver better cleaning in these challenging washing conditions. The effect of chemical structure of SRPs and deposition parameters such as pH and water hardness on surface modification was assessed. Streaming potential, scanning electron microscopy and thermal gravimetric analysis were used to characterize fabric surface before and after polymer deposition, and results were correlated to bulk data coming from UV/vis spectroscopy, as well as to soil release and protein release/deposition data. Results showed that all SRPs analysed are effective in modifying polyester and improving grease release from fabrics compared to untreated polyester.

The interactions between SRPs and surfactants with different structure were studied by surface tension measurements to give insights on SRP-surfactant compatibility. The interactions between the same surfactants and typical components of food stains (amylose, protein, oil) were investigated via multiple methods and a structure-function correlation model was developed which correlated surfactant structures with strength of interaction with soil components. Insights into optimal surfactant structure required to achieve efficient cleaning with each of the analysed soil components were derived, as a result. The present findings provide new, essential insight into the behaviour of SRP-modified fabrics, facilitating the introduction of these new classes of SRPs in laundry detergent formulations, and enable the identification of cleaning mechanisms for complex food soils containing starch, oil and proteins.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
School or Department: School of Chemical Engineering
Funders: European Commission
Subjects: T Technology > TP Chemical technology


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