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Effect of diameter on Yarn Properties

As far as yarn properties are concerned, diameter is also the most important fibre property in practice.
Fibre diameter is reflected in the migration of the fibres in a yarn, at a constant fibre length coarser
fibres tending to lie further away from the yarn core (axis) than finer fibres. Although certain workers
found that finer fibres produce more hairy yarns, the general trend is for an increase in fibre diameter to
increase yarn hairiness.Yarn thickness and compression to some extent are affected by fibre diameter
(167-169), the resistance to compression increasing as fibre diameter increases. Coarser fibres resist
higher loads better and therefore produce thicker yarns at higher loads, although at low loads the effect
of diameter on yarn thickness can be off-set by the effect of crimp (168), and thickness actually can
decrease with an increase in fibre diameter. At a constant yarn linear density an increase in fibre
diameter causes an increase in yarn short-term irregularity. According to theoretical considerations
short-term yarn irregularity is an inverse function of the average number of fibres in the yarn crosssection. Experimental studies have shown, however, that this is only true to a first approximation, with
coarser fibres generally producing more irregular yarns even at a constant average number of fibres in
the yarn cross-section. Extensive empirical studies have shown that:
Irregularity (Diameter)(0,9)
Irregularity (Number of fibres in yarn cross-section)-0,4.
Fibre diameter does not, however, appear to have a material effect on medium-term (30 to 300 cm) and
long-term (100 m) yarn irregularity(186). An increase in fibre diameter causes a decrease in yarn
breakingstrength due to an increase in short term yarn irregularity and a decrease in fibre-to-fibre
surface contact. It also decreases yarn extension at break. The effect of fibre diameter on yarn strength
becomes increasingly important as finer yarns are spun (163).At a constant yarn linear density (tex) and
twist, breaking strength is inversely proportional to mean fibre diameter. An increase in fibre diameter
also affects rotor yarn tensile and irregularity properties adversely (140). The frequencies of thin and
thick places in a yarn increase exponentially with an increase in fibre diameter at a constant yarn linear
density (see Fig. 6). We have approximately:
Frequencies of Thin Places (Diameter)
Frequencies of thick places (Diameter).
More detailed empirical relationships appear elsewhere (180,192). An increase in fibre diameter also
has an adverse effect on the properties of RWCS yarns spun on a Repco machine(166).Generally, an
increase in fibre diameter also increases the frequency of yarn faults(112), particularly the longer fault
and neps although, for the latter opposite trends have been observed on occasion(147,164). An increase
in fibre diameter improves yarn abrasion resistance somewhat(194) and also increases yarn stiffness
(196) and torque(196).

The distribution of fibre diameter in the tops closely resembles that in the raw wool (38). In commercial
tops the CV of fibre diameter varies from about 20 to 26%, generally increasing with increasing mean
fibre diameter (56,290-292). The CV of fibre diameter in commercial tops is larger than within Australian
flocks, probably because of trade practice to selectively blend wool lots from different sources
(135,293). Variation in CV of fibre diameter appears to have little effect on loose wool handle (74, 76).It
has been found (7) that, except for spinning performance, blends of wools differing by up to 5 m in
diameter performed during processing, as predicted from the weighted means of the component lots,
indicating that the concomitant increase in CV of diameter had little effect, except in spinning. The
presence of fine fibres in a blend, however, can be reflected in increased nep formation (101b). Within
practical ranges, the effect of changes in the CV of diameter on spinning performance is generally
small(7,14a, 111,123, 132, 294, 295), although significant, an increase in CV of diameter generally
causing a deterioration in spinning performance (7, 49a, 111, 123) (See Fig. 12 and Table I).Within
normal ranges, the effect of changes in CV of diameter on yarn irregularity is so small, both theoretically
(184,297) and practically (2, 177,162,178-180,288a,294,295,297,298), that it can be neglected for most
purposes. Generally, the effect of normal variations in the CV of fibre diameter on other yarn physical
properties is small (2, 111, 162, 177-180,188,191,288b,294,295,298) and for most practical purposes can
be neglected, although for limiting counts it could assume greater importance. The small effect of
variations in CV of fibre diameter on yarn properties was confirmed in studies involving blending wools
differing by up to 5 m in mean fibre diameter, the effect of mean fibre diameter (2) predominating.

Length generally is regarded as being second in importance to diameter as far as wool quality is
concerned(33, 38). It only has a small effect on price except when it implies a change in processing
system(187). At the top stage a price differential of only about 2 to 3% per 10 mm hauteur applied in
1973(299). For the 1976/77 season 12 months wool (= 84 mm staple length)(300) also only fetched 2 to
3% higher prices than 9/11 month wool (= 70 mm staple length)(300) for wools ranging from 19,5 to
24,5 m sold in South Africa. When referring to length, it is important to define clearly how and at what
stage it is measured since, unlike diameter, processing, particularly carding, generally modifies the fibre
length characteristics.
Effect of length on Yarn Properties
An increase in mean fibre length generally improves worsted yarn tensile properties the effect being
more marked for shorter fibres(see Fig. 16). Obviously this will depend upon factors such as yarn linear
density and twist. An increase in mean fibre length also has a beneficial effect on short term yarn
irregularity and on the frequencies of thin and thick places, the effect decreasing as the fibre length
increases. An increase in mean fibre length appears to have an adverse effect on the frequency of neps,
in a yarn although the effect is not always consistent (117, 180)179 177 165 164). It appears that within
normal ranges we approximately have(180):
Breaking strength (Length) 0,4
Extension at break (Length) 0, 8

Irregularity (Length)-0,2
Thin and Thick Place frequency (Length) -2
An increase in fibre length also greatly reduces the number of yarn faults and slubs but has little effect
on medium- and long term yarn irregularity. For short-staple rotor-spinning, on the other hand, other
hand, an increase in mean fibre length from 30 to 50 mm increases yarn irregularity and the frequencies
of thick places and neps. In rotor spinning longer fibres produce more extensible, stronger and leaner
yarns, although the effect is generally smaller than for ring yarns. An increase in fibre length generally
reduces yarn hairiness and also improves abrasion resistance somewhat. Fibre length also has some
effect on yarn thickness and compression, shorter fibres producing thicker (bulkier) and more
compressible yarns.

CV of Length
When referring to CV of fibre length, that of the top is generally implied and not that of the raw wool.
The two are vastly different, since fibre breakage during processing, particularly during carding,
increases the fibre length variance drastically often more than doubling it in spite of the removal of noil
(38). Only about 20% of the variation in fibre length in a top is due to the variation in the raw wool, the
remaining 80% being due to blending and fibre breakage during carding and combing. Taking an overall
view of the various studies on the effect of variations in CV of fibre length on spinning performance and
yarn and fabric propertiesit appears that, within the normal practical ranges (about 35 to 55% in the
top), its effect is generally small, and not always consistent. Although some workers found indications of
an optimum CV of fibre length for spinning, this is not supported by subsequent work(49a,387), an
extensive recent study(49a) indicating that, within the ranges of CV's covered, an increase in CV of fibre
length has a small beneficial effect on spinning performance (see Table I). The effect of CV of fibre
length could, however become more pronounced as finer yarns are being spun(180,416) and could
possibly also depend upon the particular spinning system. An increase in CV of fibre length is nearly
always associated with an increase in the frequency of neps in the yarn, and recent studies (180,193)
suggest that an increase in CV of fibre length has an adverse effect on the frequency of short faults in a
yarn, although blending raw wool lots differing greatly in staple length did not appear to affect the
frequencies of faults (Classimat) adversely (165). In one case(116) it was reported that, when blending
wools differing greatly in staple length, fibre breakage during carding and percentage noil of the blend
were slightly higher than predicted from the behavior of the component lots and the mean fibre length
of the top was slightly lower than predicted. The conversion ratio, therefore, also suffered (116).
Nevertheless, a beneficial effect on spinning performance was observed. In yarns and knitted
fabrics(163,165), blends involving different fibre lengths also performed as predicted from the
behaviour of the components, any increase in the CV of fibre length having no adverse effect, except for
yarn neps. In fact, in some cases it had a beneficial effect on yarn properties.


One worker(19) distinguishes between "tender" wools, which will break at any point along the staple
and a "break" which occurs at only one point, although both can cause fibre breakage during processing.
A "break" results from a decrease in diameter, which, in many intances, is caused by seasonal changes in
nutritionand other factors (e.g. day length) although the final stimulus is usually stress to the sheep
caused by climate or disease. It can also be caused by lambing stress. Tenderness, on the other hand, is
caused by attack from micro-organismsand can occur in shorn fleeces if they are stored in damp
conditions(19). Nevertheless, in this lecture "tenderness" and a "break" will be used synonymously.
Fibre strength is largely a function of the fibre diameter or more particularly the minimum diameter or
cross-section. Except for steely wool (copper deficient diet) and bellies (224, 559) (bacterial damage)
(77) there is little variation in the intrinsic strength of untreated wool within the merino breed of sheep.
Even in tender wool, in which large changes in diameter occur along a single fibre, the intrinsic strength
(tenacity) is not altered much. Changes in wool mechanical properties mostly reflect a change in fibre
diameter either locally or over the whole fibre and the former may be an important factor governing
certain observed differences between wool lots, breed etc. For example, finer fibres are reportedly (563)
more variable in their cross-sectional area than coarser fibres which could partly explain the trend for
fibre tenacity to increase with increasing mean diameter. Clearly, fibre strength will be reflected in fibre
breakage during processing (565) and it is claimed (41) that staple length and strength combined should
provide a good prediction of fibre length in the top for 'average' processing conditions. 'Steely' wools,
which are weaker and have lower crimp than 'normal' wools have been found to process badly.In
practice, staple strength, assessed either subjectively or objectively, is taken as a measure of fibre
strength (i.e. tenderness or soundness). Tender wools suffer a price discount (40, 571), wools often
being penalised if their staple strength falls to below about 30% of a sound wool. Nevertheless, it
appears that the differences in the strength of staples classified as "sound" could be reflected as
differences in fibre breakage during carding and combing (1, 315, 565). One worker (573) has reported
staple strength values for South African wools. Higher staple strengths generally result in less breakage
during carding, combing, drawing and spinning, producing longer and squarer tops and a higher tear (i.e.
less noil). The significance and measurement of staple strength have been discussed recently (574a,
628a, 628b). It can be expected that yarn and fabric strength will be proportional to fibre strength and
this has been confirmed experimentally. The technical importance of fibre diameter remains undisputed
although the effect of CV of diameter, within normal limits, is slight, except in spinning and more
particularly when spinning near the limits. The beneficial effects of an increase in mean fibre length on
spinning performance and yarn strength is undisputed, but it becomes less marked as the length
increases, particularly above about 65 mm. The importance of length decreases as processing proceeds,
being least in the final fabric. The precise importance of CV of fibre length and percentage short fibres,
at a constant mean fibre length, remains to be proved, particularly for the normal ranges encountered in
practice when using the double-apron system of drafting. Indications are, however, that these two
parameters are reflected in the frequencies of short thick places and neps in the yarn, although in the
fabric they have little effect.