Nowadays, the goods produced from cellulose fibers have the largest share in the textile market due to the excellent exploitation properties of these fibers. Cotton is breathable, moisture and heat conductor, drawing moisture and heat away from the body, thereby providing coolness at wearing and thus overall consumers' comfort. Cotton fibers are soft, hypoallergenic (do not irritate sensitive skin or cause allergies) and anti-static, which is why they are particularly favored for underwear and garments that get close to the skin, bandages and gauzes. Furthermore, the cellulose fibers can be easily blended with other fibers such as synthetics like polyester or lycra to combine the good mechanical properties of the synthetic polymers with the benefits of using natural-based materials in specific applications, e.g., medical textiles, easy-care fabrics, non-woven, composites, etc.

However, chemical modification of cellulose fibers by introducing new functional groups or compounds is still needed in order to improve their performance characteristics, e.g., dye fixation, water and soil-repellence, crease-resistance, handle, flame-retardance, and others. For this purpose, a large number of chemical compounds are used depending on the specific application of the fibers. This chapter refers to two distinct functional finishes for cellulose fibers, namely crease resistant and flame retardant.

J. V. Edwards et al. (eds.), Modified Fibers with Medical and Specialty Applications, 159-180. © 2006 Springer. Printed in the Netherlands.

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