Ultraviolet (UV) radiations can act in different ways on the functionalization of textiles, through pre- or posttreatments, in order to modify their behavior in dyeing and finishing processes. In cotton fiber, unlike the wool, the UV absorption is not due to any of the structural groups of the normal cellulosic chains and can only be attributed to “impurities” or “faults” bearing carbonyl and/or carboxyl groups. In fact, UV irradiation coupled with mild oxidation can improve some properties of the cotton fibers such as pilling resistance, water swelling, and dyeability. Therefore, the process of differential dyeing with direct and reactive dyes assisted by UV irradiation was studied and interesting differential chromatic effects were obtained by a UV posttreatment capable to fade dyeing. On the other hand, the surface modification of cotton fabrics by UV curing and UV grafting with suitable chemicals was pursued to obtain finishing treatments able to confer oil and/or water repellency. Finally, antimicrobial finishing by chitosan UV grafting was proposed as valid environmental friendly method to confer a satisfactory washing-resistant antimicrobial activity to cotton fabrics even with low polymer add-on.
Part of the book: Cotton Research