Comparison of Aluminum Mordanted and Nonmordanted Wool and Cotton Dyed with Walnut

Kelsie Doty, Kansas State University

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Abstract:The purpose of this research was to compare mordanted and nonmordanted cotton and wool fabrics, dyed with black walnut (Juglans nigra) leaves, hulls, and bark for colorfastness properties. Half of the cotton fabrics were mordanted with aluminum acetate and half of the wool fabrics were mordanted with potassium aluminum sulfate. Colorfastness to laundry and light for both cotton and wool were improved with the use of an aluminum mordant. However, the use of a mordant changed the color from a cool (blue) and dull brown to a warmer (yellow) and brighter brown. Overall, walnut bark dyed wool had the highest ratings for both fastness to laundry and light.

Introduction and Literature Review Research into natural dyes is important due to the renewed interest shown in environmentally responsible practices: buying local and artisan dying. Natural dyes have many advantages over synthetic dyes, such as their ecologically sustainable properties, and (depending on the mordant) they are relatively free of poisonous chemicals (Flint, 2008). It is important to note that drawbacks such as inherently poor colorfastness and the need for a greater amount of dye matter has slowed down use of natural dyes and makes them a poor sole substitute for synthetic dyes (Flint, 2008). However, synthetic dyes are known to have had adverse affects on the health of workers and have poisoned previously drinkable water (Flint, 2008). Thus, the environmental and safety concerns make research of environmentally responsible natural dye practices an important goal.

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