• Internal Structure and Pigment Granules in Colored Alpaca Fibers

    Alpaca fibers have some distinct properties such as softness and warmth, which have not been fully understood in combination with the fiber internal structures. In the present investigation, the internal structures of alpaca fibers have been closely examined under the scanning electron microscope (SEM), especially in the longitudinal direction. The results showed that numerous pigment granules reside loosely inside pockets in brown and dark-brown alpaca fibers. These pigment granules were mainly distributed inside the cortical cells, the medullation regions as well as underneath the cuticles. Their size in the brown alpaca fibers was smaller and more uniformly round than in the dark-brown fibers. These granules in colored alpaca fibers loosen the bundle of cortical cells, providing many crannies in the fibers which may contribute to the superior flexibility, warmth and softness of the fibers. Moreover, there are no heavy metal elements found in the granules. The mordant hydrogen peroxide bleaching employed could eliminate the pigment granules and create many nano-volumes for further dyeing of fibers into more attractive colors. more »
  • Investigation of the Dyeing Characteristics of Alpaca Fibers (Huacaya And Suri) in Comparison With Wool

    Luxury fibers have great importance in the field of high added value fabric production, but the studies related to these fibers are very limited. One of these luxury proteinous fibers is alpaca wool. In this study, dyeing characteristics (dye-uptake speed, color efficiency and nuance of color, fastness properties, etc.) of alpaca fibers (Huacaya and Suri) were investigated by taking sheep wool as a reference. Furthermore, analysis such as scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy was also carried out. According to the experimental results it was found that both dye-uptake speed and amount was in the range of sheep > Suri alpaca > Huacaya alpaca for milling acid dye. Furthermore, when their fastness properties were compared with sheep wool, it could be said that there was no difference for washing and perspiration fastness, while rubbing and light fastness of alpaca fibers were lower than sheep wool. more »
  • Variation in the Softness and Fibre Curvature of Cashmere, Alpaca, Mohair and Other Rare Animal Fibres

    Softness of apparel textiles is a major attribute sought by consumers. There is surprisingly little objective information on the softness properties of rare animal fibres, particularly cashmere, alpaca and mohair. Samples of these and other rare animal fibres from different origins of production and processors were objectively measured for fibre diameter, fibre curvature (FC, crimp) and resistance to compression (softness). While there were curvilinear responses of resistance to compression to FC and to mean fibre diameter, FC accounted for much more of the variance in resistance to compression. Fibre type was an important determinant of resistance to compression. The softest fibres were alpaca, mohair and cashgora and all of the fibres measured were softer than most Merino wool. Quivet, llama, camel, guanaco, vicuña, yak wool, bison wool, dehaired cow down and Angora rabbit were also differentiated from alpaca, mohair and cashmere. There were important differences in the softness and FC of cashmere from different origins with cashmere from newer origins of production (Australia, New Zealand and USA) having lower resistance to compression than cashmere from traditional sources of China and Iran. Cashmere from different origins was differentiated on the basis of resistance to compression, FC and fibre diameter. Cashgora was differentiated from cashmere by having a lower FC and lower resistance to compression. There were minority effects of colour and fibre diameter variation on resistance to compression of cashmere. The implications of these findings for the identification and use of softer raw materials are discussed. more »

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