Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Washing Clothes

23.04.2002


The flow of soap solutions through fibres is of great importance for the final result of the washing process. This is one of the conclusions from the research project of Annemoon Timmerman. She will defend her thesis on Monday 22 April at TU Delft. With this conclusion she supports a theory that was disbelieved for years by experts in the field. Timmerman: “I have now experimentally proven why the laundry is actually clean after less than half an hour of washing. Up to now, that was a mystery.” The research was funded by TNO-Cleaning Technologies.



In the washing of clothes, four factors are important: chemistry (the soap), mechanical action (the stretching of the fibre by the washing machine), temperature and time. Timmerman: “Using these four factors, improvements have been made in the washing process in recent times. But despite the centuries of practical knowledge on the subject, it has actually always remained a mystery why it is that laundry is actually clean in a relatively short time.”

So how does the washing process work? Periodic mechanical forces are exerted on the fibres. This causes tiny flows in and out of the pores in the fibres. Timmerman: “For a long time it was thought that these flows of soap solution had nothing to do with the cleaning of the laundry. It was thought that diffusion allowed the soap to reach the dirt.” Diffusion is the process in which soap is drawn through the outer layer of the fibre, reaching the dirt. With the help of literature studies and experiments, the Delft researcher determined that there were definitely flows through the pores of fibres as well as diffusion. Timmerman: “There is a convection flow through the fibre with moving layers of soap molecules along the pore walls that loosen the dirt particles from within the fibre.” The clothing is cleaned from the inside out. This was never believed in the industry. “Convection along the pore wall? Impossible.” Timmerman’s findings also explain why the actual washing process only takes about ten minutes. “If it were to take place through only diffusion, it would take hours,” says Timmerman. “And we are all witnesses to the fact that that is not the case.”


Timmerman’s research has also shown that the four most important factors, especially chemistry and mechanical action are strongly linked. These two factors, together with the temperature, determine how effective the washing process is. Timmerman: “We are a little closer to solving the secrets of washing.”

Maarten van der Sanden | alphagalileo

More articles from Interdisciplinary Research:

nachricht Decoding the regulation of cell survival - A major step towards preventing neurons from dying
04.10.2018 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden

nachricht New Cluster of Excellence “Centre for Tactile Internet with Human-in-the-Loop” (CeTI)
28.09.2018 | Technische Universität Dresden

All articles from Interdisciplinary Research >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Putting food-safety detection in the hands of consumers

15.11.2018 | Information Technology

Insect Antibiotic Provides New Way to Eliminate Bacteria

15.11.2018 | Life Sciences

New findings help to better calculate the oceans’ contribution to climate regulation

15.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>