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Optical Radiation Treatment for Wool


Purification and Treatment of Wool with Optical Radiation

Tech Area / Field

  • MAN-MCH/Machinery and Tools/Manufacturing Technology

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
VNIIEF, Russia, N. Novgorod reg., Sarov

Supporting institutes

  • Moscow State Textile University named after A.N. Kosygin, Russia, Moscow


  • Michell International PTY LTD, Germany, Wolgast

Project summary

In textile industry, the problem of enchanting the efficiency of process of production products from contaminated natural raw materials is an essential one. To tackle this problem, a technique of optical purification and treatment has been under development. This process is easily integrated with the conventional scheme of woolen yarn treatment process.

During the process of production of yarn from woolen feedstock, the latter must be treated for removing contaminants (especially vegetable origin), and dust. Well-established mechanical and chemical routes have a number of principal limitations:

- conventional mechanical routine removes only 90% of impurities, and causes yarn splitting. More thorough removal of contaminants requires more intensive treatment that results in shortening the fibres, and increasing the wastes in yarn manufacture.

- chemical treatment is characterized by 10-20% decrease in tear load and fibre tear elongation resulting in their splitting followed by the treatment. A portion of the contaminated feedstock is trapped by the wastes. Besides, the chemical techniques represent environmental problems.

At A.N.Kosygin’s Moscow Textile Academy, a fundamentally new method of purification of wool through light irradiation has come under investigation [1-7]. This technique is free of the above mentioned limitations, and economically sound; fibre properties are not impaired, but improved.

Method of photonic purification is based on the employment of the difference between optical and thermal properties of woolen fibres and foreign matters. In a certain spectrum range, the pick up of woolen fibres and contaminants differ greatly. As a result of exposure of the woolen sliver to photon irradiation of this range, the impurities are heated to a temperature of their thermochemical decomposition (T = 300 °C), and then removed off the steadily moving woolen sliver as smoke. Here the woolen fibres are heated to ~ 50 °C, that has a beneficial effect on the improvement of physical, mechanical and chemical properties. So, it was found that after exposure to light irradiation, the tear load and tear elongation of a single fibre increase by 5 and 8%, respectively. The coefficient of friction between the fibre and the steel is reduced by 7%. Subsequent to treatment, the intensification of the fibre dyeing process is under way.

To further exploratory study on this technique, work out and fabricate a prototype of the commercial process plant, it takes to build an equipment that will secure high efficiency in the radiation of the woolen sliver by a high power light beam with spectral and spatial properties necessary for the operating procedure.

The authors of the works presented in [1-10] are expected to participate in the project activities.

Main objectives of the project:

1. Experimental, theoretical and computational investigations of optical and thermal properties of contaminants and woolen fibres with the aim of determining the optimal spectral range, power and illumination characteristics of radiation source.

2. Development and fabrication of a light source with desirable spectral characteristics, and the level of light power securing the high effective (і 98%) treatment.

3. Development and fabrication of a prototype of the commercial process plant for purification and treatment of woolen sliver with light radiation.

4. Performance of experiments with a prototype of the commercial process plant for purification and treatment of woolen sliver with light radiation.

5. Study on physical properties of woolen fibres exposed to light radiation (level of remained impurities, contamination content, tear elongation, tear load, fibre structure, coefficient of friction between the fibre and steel, felting, dyeing fast, etc.); correlation with that of fibres having been purified by conventional processes.

6. Working out specifications and recommendations on the development of a commercial process plant for purification of woolen combered sliver with light radiation.

The leading institution responsible for the project activities is FGUP-RFNC VNIIEF. This institution will develop a light emitter power source, light emitters per se; participate in specifying optimal operating conditions of the devices; work out the design and manufacture of blocks for pilot plants and prototypes; take part in experimental investigations and working out specifications on the construction of a commercial process plant. The institution’s staff participating in the project possesses skills related to the design and manufacture of high-power and reliable light emitters, and experience in various purposes optoelectronic, optical and mechanical facilities as well [8-10]. In 1999-2002 it completed favorably the ISTC project “Development of ultraviolet sources, for application in science, industry and environmental remediation”.

The Project partner is A.N.Kosygin’s Moscow State Textile Academy (MGTU).

The MGTU researchers maintain their expertise in the improvement and development of novel textile technologies. The MGTU’s capabilities enable to integrate the photon purification technique of wool into the current process of production. At MGTU there were conducted preliminary efforts in this field, which showed that for this technique to be implemented, the light emitter must meet the requirements conforming to the requirements of weapon technologies.

In the course of the Project, MGTU will conduct experimental, theoretical and computational investigations of optical and thermal properties of contaminants and woolen fibres, participate in design and fabrication of a prototype of the commercial process plant and its testing, perform researches on physical properties and processability of fibres, and also work out specifications and recommendations on the design of a commercial process plant.

The main objective of the Project is to demonstrate the process operation. Apart from the research activities, a prototype of the commercial process plant for purification and treatment of woolen sliver by light irradiation is supposed to be designed.

The Project will enable to implement a number of ISTC main objectives:

- A large team of former weapons scientists and engineers will have an opportunity to redirect to peaceful activities. 13 weapons scientists will participate in the project.
- There will be obtained a significant amount of new scientific and production information accessible to those who will take an interest in it.

The Project will promote the integration of Russian scientists into the international scientific community. The Project activities will be based on the experience, methodology, and capabilities having been gained by the participating institutions.


1. B.E. Belyshev, V.A. Protasova, Y.A. Kalinin. Photonics Purification of Wools from Vegetable Impurities. Report on International Conference On Advanced and Laser Technologies - ALT”92, Sept. 1992, Moscow, Russia. Published in Advanced Program, pp. 19-20.

2. V.A. Protasova, V.E. Belyshev, Y.A. Kalinin, et al. “The Process of Production of Woolen Yarn with the Use of Optical Radiation for Purification of Wool”. - Proceedings of Reports Presented at the International Symposium “New Technological Processes and Apparatuses in Textile Industry”. - Moscow. “ZNIITEIlegprom”, 1992, p.61-66.

3. B.E. Belyshev, V.A. Protasova, A.V. Shepelev. Ecologically Clean and Raw Resources Saving Technology of Photonics Purification of Fibers.Report in “Photonics -Vest’95”. Published in SPIE, Vol. 2379, pp.329-334.

4. . V.A. Protasova, V.E. Belyshev, A.A. Ivanov, L.A. Il’ina, Y.A. Kalinin. “Process for Treatment of Woolen sliver with the use of Optical “ Radiation.”- Izvestita vuzov. Textile Technology - 1996. No. 4 (232), p. 31-33.

5. V.E. Belyshev, V.A. Protasova, A.V. Shepelev, Investigation of Optical Characteristics of Woolen Sliver and Vegetable Impurities”. - Proceedings of School of Higher Education. “New Techniques and Technology of Spinning Natural and Chemical Fibres and Processing of Complex Threads”. M. 1997, p. 3.

6. V.E. Belyshev, E.V. Gryaznova, A.V. Shepelev. “Absorption of Light Radiation by Woolen Fibres and Vegetable Impurities”. Book of Abstracts of Reports at All-Russian Conference “Textile-98”, p.27.

7. Russian Federation Patent 205 12 19, 6D0/C37/00, D01H13/28. Apparatus for Treatment of Fibrous Material (V.E.Belyshev, V.A.Protasova et al.). RU - 4952008/12.

8. S.M. Kulikov, Y.V. Dolgopolov, A.M. Dudov et al. “Progress in Iodine Laser for Plasma and High Intensity Interactions”. The 24th Conference on Laser Interaction with Matter ( 24th ECLIM), Madrid, Spain, 3-7 June 1996. Published in Advances in Laser Interaction with Matter and Inertial Fusion”, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., pp. 558-562.

9. V.N. Derkach, S.V. Bondarenko, S.G. Garanin, N.N. Rukavishnikov. “Research, directed on the development of a method of spatially-temporary smoothing of a high-power laser beam”. XXV ECLIM, Italia, Formia, May 4-8, 1998. Technical Programme and Book of Abstract.

10. I.V. Galakhov, S.G. Garanin, V.A. Eroshenko et al. “Conception of the Iskra-6 Nd-laser Facility”. Fusion Engineering and Design, Vol. 44 (1999), pp. 51-56.