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Project Name: Rare Tracer Metals Study
Country: None Listed
Description: IT3, Inc. used rare earth elements as tracer agents in yarn wax for inclusion and took fabric prepared by client to process through standard dyeing and finishing processes. Testing for the rare earth tracers was conducted at the doped wax stage, greige fabric stage, after dyeing, and after finishing. Undoped wax and raw yarn was also tested. Wax Doping IT3 provided rare earth mixes and client worked with their wax supplier to prepare wax doped with the mixtures. The mixtures contained three rare earth elements each. Because the aim of the study was to monitor the rare earth elements through the textile processes, the first attempts were made with more concentrated mixtures. The initial concentrations were in the ppm range as measured in the wax. The number of mixtures depended on several factors including the quality of the mixing of the rare earths with the wax, the properties of the resulting wax including adhesion and color, and the ability of the wax to be used in the client's yarn process. In this study, the first mixture that did not change any of the properties of the wax or resulting yarn was used for the next step. Yarn and Fabric Preparation A doped wax mixture was prepared, and client used this wax to prepare the minimum of 100% cotton yarn needed to create greige polo type fabric of at least 12”x12” size. Client noted any differences in the preparation as compared to normal runs.   Fabric Dyeing and Finishing The greige fabric was prepared, dyed, and finished using a typical set of parameters for 100% cotton polo type fabric. The preparation included scouring and bleaching. The dyeing was completed using a reactive dye formulation and the finishing was the addition of a typical softener to the fabric. This fabric preparation was conducted in the Pilot Laboratory at the College of Textiles of NC State University. Rare Earth Testing Testing was conducted by ICP-MS and XRF (X-ray Fluorescence) on the wax mixtures to determine which method indicated the greatest concentration. Alternate methods included Neutron Activation Analysis (NAA) and Proton Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE) wneb the results were not consistent. It was important to determine which methods detected the rare earths in the wax matrix and what relative concentrations were detected. XRF was the method of choice, since ultimately, the use of a hand held detection unit was anticipated. A final report was issued that described the exact protocols used, equipment data, and all test results from the IT3 portion of the study. The processes as outlined required up to twelve (12) weeks to complete Normal testing time for rare earths is 2-3 weeks for most laboratories.
 

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