Title:
Cationic PEG for Treatment of Fabrics
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method for treatment of fabrics with polyethylene glycol without cross-linking involves cationizing the polyethylene glycol by conversion to a quaternary salt and applying the converted polyethylene glycol to a fabric in an aqueous solution by conventional means.



Inventors:
Jain, Surendra (Greer, SC, US)
Application Number:
12/027474
Publication Date:
08/13/2009
Filing Date:
02/07/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
D06M15/53
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Primary Examiner:
AHVAZI, BIJAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
J. HEBERT O' TOOLE (EASLEY, SC, US)
Claims:
1. A method for the treatment of fabric comprising: preparing an aqueous solution of a cationized polyethylene glycol with a molecular weight of 850 to 1600; applying said solution to a fabric; drying the fabric; and wherein said cationized polyethylene glycol attach to negatively charged surfaces of said fabric.

2. A method according to claim 1 wherein the cationized polyethylene glycol is a quaternized salt of polyethylene glycol.

3. A method according to claim 1 wherein the fabric is cotton.

4. A method according to claim 1 wherein the fabric has anionic sites.

5. A method according to claim 1 wherein the fabric is treated to exhaustion of anionic sites.

6. A method according to claim 1 wherein the cationized polyethylene glycol is applied by dipping.

7. A method according to claim 1 wherein the cationized polyethylene glycol is applied by padding.

8. A method according to claim 1 wherein the cationized polyethylene glycol is applied by spraying.

9. A method according to claim 1 wherein the cationized polyethylene glycol is applied by coating.

10. A method for the treatment of fabric according to claim 1 wherein the cationized polyethylene glycol is prepared by reaction with the quaternary salt of a dialkylaminoethyl acrylate in the presence of a persulfate or peroxide initiator.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to compositions for treatment of fabrics for absorption of moisture, improved durability and lower costs. Also included are methods for treatment of fabrics using these compositions.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Polyethylene glycol (PEG) is commercially available in many grades and molecular weights. As an alcohol, it is water soluble. In higher molecular weights, it has viscosity properties of an oil. Its low toxicity allows it to have multiple medical uses. Some esters have been employed in the treatment of fabrics.

Many fibers such as nylons and acrylates have surfaces which are negatively charged. Others, such as cotton, have free hydroxyl groups on the surface. This property can be used in the treatment of fibers by reacting with certain treatment chemicals.

PEG has been applied to fabrics using 1,3-bis(hydroxymethyl)-4,5-dihydroxyimidazolidimone-2 (dihydroxydimethylol ethylene) urea, (DMDHEU)—to cross-link the PEG and fix it to fibers. U.S. Pat. No. 4,908,238 to Vigo et al. and Published Patent Application 2005 0166332 to McCartney et al. are examples of such processes. Aldehydes such as formaldehyde (U.S. Pat. No. 6,544,296) and glyoxal, (U.S. Published Patent Application 2005/0234420) have not been used to similar effect. Combinations of heating and neutralizing fabrics treated with PEG are also disclosed by Artley et al. in U.S. Patent Publications 2002/0081923 and 2005/0144733.

The use of cross-linking agents such as DMDHEU, glyoxal formaldehyde and melamine formaldehyde requires that the fabric be dipped, padded, sprayed or squeezed to remove excess liquid and then heated to complete the cross-linking. The extra steps mean additional costs and the use of formaldehyde presents additional problems both where used in factory and to users, especially if the fabrics are steam ironed (formaldehyde released by chemical breakdown).

There remains a need for an efficient, yet less expensive, way to obtain the benefits of PEG on fibers without the costs of prior art processes. This is especially true for fabrics which are not expected to be used regularly over a period of years such as cloth sanitary products, pantyhose and surgical suppliers.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is a first object of the invention to take advantage of the benefits from treating fabrics with PEG and a lower cost.

It is a second object of this invention to avoid complications related to the cross-linking of PEG to fibers as practiced in the prior art.

It is a third object of this invention to take advantage of the structure of fabric fibers when applying a PEG formulation.

These and other objects may be achieved by reacting the hydroxyl groups of PEG to provide a positive charge to interact with the polar surface of the fibers. The PEG may be cationized to create the desired polarity.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Polyethylene glycols having a molecular weight of between about 850 to about 1600 are useful for this invention. A range of PEG products sold under the tradename CARBOWAX, are available from The Dow Chemical Co., Midland, Mich. The PEG, in a suitable solvent (needed for higher molecular weight grades), is reacted with the quaternary salt of a dialkyl amino ethyl acrylate in the presence of a persulfate or peroxide.

The resultant positively charged polyethylene glycol quat salt does not need the help of a cross-linking resin to attach to negatively charged surfaces of fabrics including knitted, non-woven and blended fabrics.

Using a water solution of cationized PEG of this invention, fabrics may be dipped in a solution, centrifuged or squeezed to remove excess water and tumble dried. Heat in excess of that used in commercial laundry equipment is not required as it would be when using cross-linking agents. In addition to dipping, the fabrics may be padded, sprayed or rolled.

Cationized PEG solutions in aqueous media may be used in ranges of 10-80% PEG, preferably less than 40%. No additives are required. The cationized PEG should be kept in contact with the fabric only as long as needed to react with—exhaust—all available sites.

Advantages of such treatment are improved handling of the fabric, improved moisture balance due to PEG's ability to absorb and release water in response to temperature, and because the cationized PEG is in the form of a quat salt, it is an inherent antimicrobial. Other advantages are anti-static properties, resistance to wrinkles, and to stains.

The invention has been described in terms of examples which are non-limiting of the scope of the invention. Changes and additions apparent to one of skill in the art are encompassed within the scope of the invention.

INDUSTRIAL UTILITY

The invention is useful in the treatment of a wide range of fabrics to improve user comfort, especially in skin-contact items.