The mercerisation process for Merino wool is a chemical-based process normally applied to wool top or scoured loose wool which creates a ‘cashmere-like’ feel and a ‘silk-like’ appearance.
The mercerisation of wool involves the removal of the scale structure from the surface of the wool fibre which creates a smoother fibre surface, the effect of which is to increase the sheen. The second part of the process involves the application of a very fine layer of silicone polymer which is grafted permanently onto the fibres' surface.
The application of the silicone polymer brings about significant improvement in the hand feel.
The actual diameter (micron) of the fibre does not change as a result of the treatment, although the perceived improvement in hand feel is the equivalent of using wool two to three microns finer.
For further information about Mercerised Merino Wovenwear contact your local Woolmark Company office.