Green Finishing of Cotton Fabrics Using a Xylitol-Extended Citric Acid Cross-linking System on a Pilot Scale

Jian Liu, Bijia Wang, Xiaomei Xu, Jiangang Chen, Luyi Chen, Yiqi Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Cross-linking is frequently applied to cotton fabrics for enhanced wrinkle recovery and dimensional stability. The combination of citric acid (CA) and xylitol shows great potential as a sustainable alternative to the market-dominating N-methylol resins, which are inherently formaldehyde-releasing. This paper reports a successful pilot-scale application of this green cross-linking system preceded by systematic investigation using response surface methodology (RSM). Responses of fabric properties to five foremost variables were investigated to gain insight of the cross-linking system and facilitate its industrialization. The model obtained by RSM suggests that curing temperature is the most prominent variable and the responses to CA and xylitol concentrations are closely coupled. The optimum conditions used for the pilot-scale experiments were 3 min, 175 °C, 130 g/L, 15 g/L, and 3 kg/cm2 for curing time, curing temperature, CA concentration, xylitol concentration, and padder-roll pressure, respectively. The CA/xylitol finished fabrics were comparable to those finished with the market-dominating dimethyloldihydroxyethyleneurea (DMDHEU) resins. Analyses show that CA/xylitol is more cost-effective than other formaldehyde-free cross-linking agents and clearly has a more preferable environmental, health, and safety (EHS) profile than DMDHEU. The encouraging results indicate that CA/xylitol has great potential in replacing N-methylol resins on an industrial scale.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1131-1138
Number of pages8
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 7 2016


  • Citric acid
  • Cotton cross-linking
  • Pilot scale
  • Response surface methodology
  • Sustainable

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment

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