We never take humidity of the air around us seriously until we are relaxing in a sauna or on vacation near the equator. But this is not the case with textile industry as it uses temperature and humidity test chamber to track the humidity levels. It’s because humidity is a concern of textile processing as when it gets wrong, it can stop production, harm staff, and damage machinery. It is necessary to keep the humidity level check and right to maximize product weights, enhance quality and make machine more efficient at work and operation.
Humidity in air is measured as “relative humidity”. It is explained as the amount of water present in a sample of air compared to the capacity of air to hold maximum amount of water at same specific temperature. It is expressed in a form of 0 to 100%.
Cold air has low capacity to hold moisture unlike warm air and thus, the air humidity is relative to its temperature. For instance, a sample of air at 10 degrees Celsius will have less capacity to hold moisture than the same sample of air at 20 degrees Celsius. It doesn’t matter if the water amount is same in both samples, warmer sample has a lower humidity as it has potential to hold more than the cold air sample.
Textiles are hygroscopic, in other words, they absorb or release moisture on the basis of the relative humidity found in surrounding air. If the air is drier than textile’s equilibrium relative humidity, textile will release its moisture in the air. If the air is excessively humid, textile’s moisture content will increase. This gain and loss of moisture occurs at every stage.
Moisture has a direct impact in the textile weight. Since the textile yarns are sold by weight, if a drop in humidity results in 4% reduction in weight, textile manufacturers will need 4% extra fiber for inclusion in the sale product.
Complete loss of moisture is also unsuitable as the act of processing will increase the material temperature, which will make it drier. When textile absorbs the moisture, the quality and performance of the fabric get improved.
This is why textiles have specialized Temperature and Humidity test chamber at the facility to track the moisture and temperature. This helps them in attaining right humidity level for textile production.
This is the reason why textiles cannot neglect humidity at all.