Effect of accessibility of cellulose molecules on development of crosslinks during high-energy irradiation was investigated. Accessibility of cellulose was improved by swelling (NaOH, tetramethylammonium hydroxide), carboxymethylation, coating with water-soluble carboxymethylcellulose, respectively. Irradiation of samples (10kGy) was carried out in wet state of the fabric as mobility of cellulose molecules is much higher in the presence of water and high mobility of molecular chains is advantageous for development of crosslinks. Change in molecular size was followed by degree of polymerization. The structure modified by crosslinks was characterized by increase in the absorbance assigned to the intermolecular hydrogen bonds (FTIR), and by decrease of fiber swelling (water vapor sorption, water retention). Thew highest values both for water vapor sorption and water retention were found in sample of highest accessibility (carboxymethylated cotton fabric coated with carboxymethylcellulose).
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