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a fluffy mass of fibers, loosely interwoven in various directions. According to the means of producing wadding, it is classified as natural—woolen, silken, down, cotton, linen, hempen, pine-needle, and asbestos; or artificial—cellulose, glass, metallic, slag, and basalt.
Natural wadding is divided according to use into apparel, furniture, technical (thermal-insulation, fireproof, and so on), packing, sheet bonded, and medical.
In the manufacture of wadding the raw material is pulled apart, separated, and cleansed of foreign matter. The fibrous mass obtained is formed into so-called laps on machines of an opener-scutcher unit; the formless mass of fibers constituting the lap is transformed into a product of definite thickness. In the production of medical wadding the raw material is subjected to boiling in alkali under pressure and is then processed with sodium hyposulfite. As a result, the fiber acquires its whiteness and its characteristic properties: the ability to rapidly become wet and absorb moisture. Medical wadding is divided into hygroscopic and compress types. Hygroscopic wadding is white, separates readily into layers, and is used to absorb fluid secretions (pus or ichor) in bandaging wounds over layers of gauze dressing. Compress wadding is used for heat insulation of wrapped or bandaged parts of the body (for example, with hot compresses) and also as a soft padding when applying immobilized casts (for example, plaster casts).
Artificial wadding is widely used in construction as a thermal- and sound-insulating material and in the chemical industry for filtration of liquids and gases. A special form of wadding is the so-called vatilin—that is, wadding sized on one or both sides with adhesive emulsion. Vatilin is a substitute for wadding in sewing apparel, lining material, and so on.