The first step in the process is to obtain, create or develop homogeneous samples of sticky cottons. ICA Bremen, an international centre for cotton testing, research and quality training, has been asked to assist with this step.
The second step is to conduct a round trial among all mechanical instruments used for testing stickiness, using homogeneous samples of sticky cotton developed with ICA Bremen. Results will be confined to reporting the number of sticky points detected in each sample. Faserinstitut Bremen e.V. (FIBRE), a research institute on the field of fibres and fibre reinforced plastics, has tentatively agreed to conduct such a stickiness round trial in conjunction with ongoing Bremen Round Trials.
The third step is to determine whether the results from the same instruments in different laboratories and different instruments in laboratories can be correlated, and the results from each instrument are mapped to the results from other instruments.
Based on the Stickiness Round Trial, center for international cooperation in agronomic research for development (CIRAD) and FIBRE will choose the type of instrument that gives the most reproducible results with the narrowest tolerances. It will be called the ‘round-trial reference method’.
The ICCTM recommended all laboratories and manufacturers of mechanical stickiness testing instruments to calibrate to the new method. This may require further round trials, to determine ‘grades’ or ‘levels’ of stickiness. The committee said that it does not suggest that any mechanical testing method to be abandoned.
This initiative is a process by which one testing method will be identified as the ‘round-trial reference method,’ and the committee recommends that results from all other methods be calibrated in conformance with it. This process has the virtue of simplicity and is a place to start in furthering the commercial measurement of stickiness in cotton.
ICCTM says that its members are aware that the incidence of stickiness can vary within a bale, and the degree by which a bale is sticky can vary over time. These issues will be dealt with at a later time.
The selection of a reference method and development of a definition of stickiness will not inhibit the development of better testing methods in the future. The ICCTM Steering Committee will also help to seek funding for running various projects to identify the sources and causes of stickiness. (KD)
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