Reactivity of the Disulphide Bond in Wool

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THE permanent set which strained wool fibres acquire in steam or boiling water is due to breakdown of disulphide bonds ; this promotes dissipation of stress, followed by linkage rebuilding, which fixes the relaxed structure in its deformed state. In such conditions oxidized fibres are more difficult to set than untreated, and it has been suggested that the formation of intermediate oxidation products, such as the sulphone, is sufficient to impair setting power1. This view has now been confirmed by taking advantage of the observation that sulphur dioxide can be reduced to sulphur by hypophosphorous acid2.

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    Speakman, J. B., J. Soc. Dyers and Colourists, 52, 335 (1936).

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    Von Deines, O., Ann. Chem., 440, 213 (1924).

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    Smith, A. L., and Harris, M., J. Res. Nat. Bur. Stand., 16, 309 (1936).

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    Suter, C. M., “The Organic Chemistry of Sulphur” (J. Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York, 1945).

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    Whewell, C. S., and da Silva, M. A., J. Text. Inst., 48, T98 (1957).

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WOLFRAM, L., SPEAKMAN, J. Reactivity of the Disulphide Bond in Wool. Nature 187, 595–596 (1960) doi:10.1038/187595a0

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