Keywords: air pollution, Cairo, solar radiation, textiles, Egypt, cotton fabric, synthetic fabric, tensile strength
Study of the effects of air pollution on textiles exposed to Cairo's ambient atmosphere
Cotton fabric (100% cotton) and synthetic fabric (65% polyester and 35% cotton) were exposed at five selected sites in urban and industrial districts in Cairo city for a period of 15 months. The changes in the physical properties of the exposed textiles were investigated. The results indicated that the tensile strength of all the exposed samples was decreased, for warp and weft directions by different ratios, at all sites as a function of time of exposure. The highest deterioration in tensile strength was 86.2%, detected for cotton samples exposed in the industrial area. The lowest percentage loss of tensile strength was 58%, detected in the purely residential area of low population density. The loss in tensile strength of synthetic textile samples ranged from 54 to 73%. The difference between the tensile strength for sheltered and unsheltered textile samples increased with increasing time of exposure, especially with increasing solar radiation intensity in the summer. The cotton fabric lost about 25% of its tensile strength, and the synthetic fabric lost about 19.5% of its tensile strength after 15 months exposure to direct solar radiation. The percentage loss of elongation (elasticity) for cotton and synthetic fabric ranged from 72% to 89% and from 67.2% to 88.2%, respectively. Several conclusions and recommendations are also given.