Textiles: cotton: stronger when wet?
Self-tutoring about textiles: the tutor visits an interesting quality of cotton.
Cotton is stronger wet than dry, by up to 20%. The reason is due to hydrogen bonds between the water and the cotton.
Hydrogen bonds aren’t structural, but instead are attractions: a hydrogen atom will become attracted to other non-metals similar to the one it’s already bonded to. Since both those non-metal atoms feel pull from the shared hydrogen, they become cohesive.
Such is the effect of water on cotton: the water molecules form hydrogen bonds that fortify covalent bonds already present in the cotton polymers.
Source:Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.