ASTM D1442 - 06(2012)

    Standard Test Method for Maturity of Cotton Fibers (Sodium Hydroxide Swelling and Polarized Light Procedures)

    Active Standard ASTM D1442 | Developed by Subcommittee: D13.11

    Book of Standards Volume: 07.01


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    Significance and Use

    Information regarding the percentage of immature fibers is desirable because immature fibers: (1) break easily during processing; (2) have a tendency to form neps; (3) have a tendency to become entangled around particles of trash and leaf, thus making cleaning more difficult and increasing the amount of fiber removed with foreign matter; ( 4) adversely affect yarn and fabric appearance; and ( 5) may appear differently after dyeing.

    Maturity has a high positive correlation with linear density, but genetic differences and differences in wall thickness caused by plant diseases, soil, and water conditions during the growing season interfere with this relationship. Thus two cottons having the same linear density, or having the same average wall thickness as indicated by air-flow instruments, may vary greatly in maturity, that is, a cotton having extremely variable wall thickness may contain more immature fibers than another cotton of the same Micronaire reading composed of fibers having very uniform wall thickness.

    The Sodium Hydroxide Swelling (Procedure 1) has been used in judging other maturity tests such as the Causticaire and the differential dye methods, in which the individual fibers are not examined.

    Finer distinctions between different degrees of fiber wall development can be made with the Polarized Light procedure than with the Sodium Hydroxide Swelling procedure. The Polarized Light procedure gives a view of the fiber in its natural state so that fibrillar structure, striations, reversals, etc., are clearly visible as are growth abnormalities and variations in wall thickness. This method may be preferred by botanists, geneticists, and plant physiologists, while the Sodium Hydroxide Swelling procedure may be preferred for routine testing of large numbers of samples. Technicians are more easily trained for the latter method. Arbitrary classification as to maturity must be made with both methods.

    This method is not considered satisfactory for acceptance testing because between laboratory precision can be poor. In some cases the purchaser and seller may have to test a commercial shipment of one or more specific material by an appropriate method even though the method has not been recommended for acceptance testing of commercial shipments. In such a case, if there are differences of practical significance between reported test results for two laboratories (or more), comparative tests should be performed to determine if there is a statistical bias between them, using competent statistical assistance. As a minimum, ensure the test samples to be used are as homogeneous as possible, are drawn from the material from which the disparate test result were obtained, and randomly assigned in equal numbers to each laboratory for testing. The test results from the two laboratories should be compared using statistical test for unpaired data, at a probability level chosen prior to the testing series. If a bias is found, either its cause must be found and corrected, or future test results for that material must be adjusted in consideration of the known bias.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers the determination of the percentage of mature fibers in a sample of loose, chemically untreated cotton fibers, whether taken before processing or unravelled from a textile product.

    1.2 This test method gives two optional procedures for determining maturity, as follows:

    1.2.1 Procedure 1Sodium Hydroxide Swelling.

    1.2.2 Procedure 2Polarized Light.

    Note 1—For other test methods for the determination of maturity of cotton fibers refer to Test Methods D1464 and .

    1.3 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measure are included in this standard.

    1.4 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    D123 Terminology Relating to Textiles

    D1440 Test Method for Length and Length Distribution of Cotton Fibers (Array Method)

    D1447 Test Method for Length and Length Uniformity of Cotton Fibers by Photoelectric Measurement

    D1464 Practice for Differential Dyeing Behavior of Cotton

    D1776 Practice for Conditioning and Testing Textiles

    D2480 Test Method for Maturity Index and Linear Density of Cotton Fibers by the Causticaire Method

    D7139 Terminology for Cotton Fibers


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 59.060.10 (Natural fibres)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 11151507(Cotton fibers)


    DOI: 10.1520/D1442-06R12

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