Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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cotton

A soft, fibrous, usually white organic substance that clothes the seeds of various plants, especially of the genus Gossypium. The cotton fiber resembles a flat, twisted tube. having a thin wall and a wide central canal. known as the lumen. Because of this wide lumen, the cylindrical fiber collapses upon drying to the form of a flat, twisted tube, somewhat in the shape of a corkscrew. The fiber length may be as much as 30 mm. and the width between approximately 0.01 and 0.03 mm., giving a ratio of length to width of more than 1,000 to 1. Cotton consists of more than 90% cellulose, exclusive of COTTON LINTERS . Since it is almost pure cellulose, cotton fibers are readily affected by acids and moderately strong oxidizing agents. Alkali compounds in moderate amounts and at normal temperatures, however, have little effect on them. Cotton is used extensively in the manufacture of sewing thread, spine lining cloth, book cloth (including buckram), as well as higher grade papers and other products used in archival work. (143 , 198 )




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