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SGS WOOL TESTING SERVICES
INFO BULLETIN
2011
VOL 5.1a
WOOL BULK
WHAT IS BULK?
Bulk is the ability of wool to fill space.
It is expressed in terms of the volume
occupied by a fixed mass of wool. It is
an important factor in the appearance
and handle of wool products at the point
of sale, as well as in performance during
processing.
Bulkier wools tend to have better
“cover” and greater “apparent value”.
They also appear to be less lustrous,
since lustre is related to fibre crimp.
Lustre and bulk are well correlated.
The bulk of wool depends on its
compression history - how often it has
already been compressed and to what
extent and for how long. Each of these
factors therefore has to be controlled
during measurement.
Bulk is largely determined by fibre crimp
and by fibre diameter. Staple crimp is
indicative of fibre crimp, but the two are
not the same, as you see when you pull
a single fibre out from a staple.
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT?
It is important to know in advance
what appearance may be expected in a
finished product. This can be influenced
by the choice of wools and by the
subsequent processing.
Bulk is regarded as an important
characteristic for wools which are
processed into carpet and hand knitting
yarns. It also plays an important part in
wools used for filling, in such products as
quilts, mattress overlays and Japanese
futons.
The principal factor which affects bulk
- fibre crimp - is also increasingly being
recognised as important in its own
right in finer wools processed on the
worsted system. Not only does it have
a measurable effect on the processing
performance of the wool, but there are
measurable differences in the appraisal
of garments made from fibres which only
differ in their crimp.
It should also be noted that crimp can
be artificially introduced to wool fibres
during processing to enhance bulk. This
process, and another based on batch
treatment of yarn hanks, have been
commercialised in association with
WRONZ.
WHAT INFLUENCES BULK?
As indicated above, crimp definition
and diameter are the primary fibre
characteristics affecting bulk. These in
turn are determined by breed and to
a lesser extent by farm management
practices. Both of these parameter
are important in relatively subjective
characteristics such as “style” and
“handle”.
As also indicated, bulk is affected by
the history of the wool. Wool fibre
has a memory of recent events, and
in no other property is this so clearly
demonstrated. The effects of moisture,
temperature and pressure all play a part,
and therefore the measurement process
employed has to be very carefully
standardised.
Core bulk range for fleece (cc/g)
15
Down
Downcross
Cheviot
Poll Dorset
Merino
Perendale
Texel
Halfbred
Corriedale
Drysdale
Crossbred
Romney
Coopworth
Lincoln
Leicester
20
25
30
35
SGS WOOL TESTING SERVICES
HOW IS BULK MEASURED?
For some period of time, bulk was
measured by the loose wool bulk test,
which is carried out on scoured fulllength wool. The test method proved
very susceptible to operator effects.
A new test method was developed by
WRONZ based on the same physical
principles, but using wool cores. In
this method all factors which affect the
bulk properties are closely controlled
in automatic equipment. The new test
method is known as NZS 8716, and is
used for certifying the bulk of raw wool.
In brief, core samples are scoured,
dried and conditioned in the laboratory,
and then completely opened in a
small purpose-built sample card. After
a defined period of rest, carefully
weighed specimens are subjected to
a defined cycle of compression and
relaxation, followed by measurement
in an autobulkometer. Very careful
quality control procedures are utilised
throughout the test.
INFO BULLETIN
VOL 5.1a
2
This is related to crimp.
Good mathematical correlations have
been demonstrated between bulk
predicted by this type of measurement
and the standard test method. However,
since processing history plays such a
big part in the measurement of bulk,
further standardisation is needed before
the technique can be applied on a wider
basis. It is, however, suitable for rapid
assessment of bulk for flock ranking
purposes.
This standardised test method is
relatively cumbersome, since great
care is required and the tests must
be scheduled in such a way that the
prescribed rest periods are complied
with. Alternative methods have been
explored.
One technique which shows promise
uses the fact that bulk is primarily
determined by fibre diameter and crimp.
The OFDA fibre diameter measuring
instrument incorporates software which
allows fibre curvature to be measured.
FOR ENQUIRIES
Email us at [email protected]
Or contact us at:
48 Kemp Street, Kilbirnie
PO Box 15062
Wellington, New Zealand
Tel:
+64.4.387.8565
Fax:
+64.4.387.8651
WWW.SGS.COM/AGRICULTURE
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