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Cleansing Light


Russian researchers have literally suggested burn to ashes thorns and other vegetative admixtures in the sheep’s fleece. It should be noted that that burning to ashes is done intricately, so that the future fiber only benefited from it –becoming solid, elastic and snow-white. The information on this development is placed in the section of promising projects on the site of the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC).

An ingenious fleece cleansing technology has been developed and patented by Russian researchers. It is based on raw stuff irradiation by bright light of power tubes. In the course of this, all vegetative admixtures – their content in the domestic raw stuff making nearly 3 percent and getting rid of them without spoiling fleece has not been successful so far – turn into ashes. Fleece itself becomes better than it previously was. This idea is so non-trivial that it is simply difficult to believe in. However, a pre-production model of the plant is already functioning in the laboratory of the Moscow State Textile University named after A.N. Kosygin. The ISTC experts considered the development so interesting that they placed the information about it in their database – in the advanced researchers section on the site:

The problem is not purely Russian, but it is typical for the countries where economy is not highly developed. As for Australian merino sheep, their life is good, if not splendid. They wear special shirts and are tendered in special pastures without thorns or agrimony. So their fleece is clean, without admixtures. The fleece of Russian sheep is all over covered with bur. It is practically impossible to comb out the burs. They have to be pulled out together with fleece, as a result nearly one tenth of the raw stuff being lost, besides the fiber being broken or the raw stuff being processed with sulphuric acid. Certainly, all vegetative admixtures are successfully removed, but the quality of raw stuff drops inevitably. It loses elasticity and a fiber made of it will never be really durable.

The method suggested by Russian researchers does not in the least spoil the raw stuff. The essence of the method is as follows. The raw stuff, i.e. the fleece preliminary washed clean off mud, sweat and grease, is illuminated by very powerful (20 kWt) lamps. But not for a long time – for fractions of a second. During this time, darker vegetative admixtures get strongly heated up – nearly up to three hundred degrees C, and literally turn into ashes. At the same time, the lighter fleece has time to get slilghtly warm – up to sixty degrees C. After that, it is sufficient to shake up the fleece – there are nor burs or grass in it any longer.

Quality improvement of fleece itself has turned out to be an exclusively interesting “by-product” of this influence the authors did not even expect. Although there is nothing supernatural about it – specialists do know that wool “likes” moderate heat. The fiber surface becomes smoother, and the fiber itself, or more precisely, its internal layer, the so-called cortical one, becomes more elastic and flexible. So, as a result the thread and products based on it become more durable and the color becomes snow-white.

However, it is also easier to dye fleece processed under a new technology. The dye keeps on better and stronger, and therefore, the fleece does not lose color and less dye gets into waste, i.e. is washed off to washwater, which is good for environment protection and saving.

The authors have been conducting investigations on the issue for more than twenty years, since 1982. It is interesting to note that they initially used lasers for irradiation and then, relatively not long ago, switched to ordinary lamps’ light. The light is certainly filtered – both off destructive effect of ultraviolet and infrared-range irradiation – as it does not matter for the light what to heat: fleece or thorns.

The scientists have solved basic research problems. They have even constructed a laboratory-scale plant jointly with specialists of the “Granat” (Garnet ) Special Design Office. Nevertheless, manufacturing technologies have not been developed yet. However, this is more of financial issue.

Sergey Komarov | alfa
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